Caring for injured or orphaned birds
I frequently get asked questions about caring for injured or orphaned birds. Some people leave their questions on an appropriate page of this site, while others ask their questions privately using my contact from here.
I am no expert
I often explain to people with this questions that I am certainly no expert in this field. I have no experience and very little knowledge in looking after injured or orphaned native birds or animals. I usually try to direct them to relevant help from elsewhere.
Every state of Australia has its rules and regulations as to what members of the public can and cannot do where helping injured wildlife is concerned. As a general principle, never try to look after an injured animal or bird unless you are skilled to do so and have the necessary permission from the relevant authorities in your state.
Steps to take:
- The welfare of the animal or bird is most important: make sure that the bird is safe from further harm. Keep little children, cats and dogs away, handle it as little as possible and keep it in a strong, ventilated cardboard box.
- Contact or visit your local vet for advice. Some of my readers have been very disappointed with this course of action, stating that some vets are very dismissive and only recommend that the animal be destroyed. I find this response rather perplexing; I thought vets cared for animals.
- Use the Yellow Pages phone directory to find your nearest animal welfare and rescue organization. There are hundreds of skilled and trained carers across Australia and there is every likelihood there is one near you.
- Contact or visit your local pet shop: help coming from these people will also vary greatly. Some may be very willing to help, others only will help if there is a potential sale of goods involved.
- Visit your local library and ask for books on pet and animal care.
- Search on the internet: this is how I get so many requests for help. In some cases, people have said that this site was the ONLY place they found any information and help. That is not correct, but many people do not know how to effectively search the internet. Because of this I have prepared a list of useful Australian sites.
Useful web sites:
- Fauna Rescue of South Australia – while this is based here in SA, the information is useful throughout Australia, especially in regards to preparing food for injured animals.
- Caring for wildlife – a fact sheet produced by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife.
- Feeding advice for magpies – a fact sheet produced by the Bird Care and Conservation Society.
- Animal Welfare League
- Australian Seabird Rescue
- Bird Care and Conservation Society – many fact sheets are available on this site.
- Wildcare Australia
- WIRES – Australian Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service – includes contact details throughout NSW.
- Rehabilitating birds – and extensive article written by one of the experts at Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria.
Always remember that the bird’s welfare is the most important thing to consider.
Updated November 2013.