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February 2020
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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > How to help > Green tips > Injured Birds

Injured Birds
A baby bird fallen on the ground, an injured or motionless bird after a collision or an obviously ill or intoxicated bird – everyone has already come across one of these situations. They happen quite often and it is important to act quickly.

What to do?

  • Injured or sick birds
If you find an injured or weak bird or any other kind of wild animal, you should:
- Collect the bird with the help of a cloth, towel or coat, quickly covering its head and beak for it to calm down and holding its wings and feet;
- Place the bird in a cardboard box with holes, or in a specific pet travel box covered with a cloth;
- Keep the bird in a protected and quiet place, and do not feed it nor treat it with pills;
- Contact the closest “Recovery Centre” (see contacts below) and give detailed information about the animal. Do not keep the animal with you for longer than the strictly necessary, and only give first aid if you have those skills;
- Immediately contact SEPNA if you suspect of poisoning, and do not forget that only authorities can remove dead bodies (for more information about it, please check Programa Antídoto)
  • Baby birds found on the floor:
Often we find baby birds which accidentally fell from their nests – in these situations, it is important to interfere as least as possible.
If the baby bird is already well developed, and if you can find the nest nearby, leave it where you found it, since parents will certainly hear it and take it or feed it.
If the baby bird has not been fed for a while or shows signs of weakness or lesions, if you cannot locate the nest or the parents or if the place where you found it is very crowded and poses a risk to the bird, take it to one of the “Recovery Centres”.
It is important not to forget that for some species (e.g. blackbird, mottled owl) it is normal for babies to leave the nest before reaching majority. They will be taken care by their parents, even if on the floor. Therefore, unless parents are absent, the situation is hazardous or the baby bird suffers from malnutrition or illness, it should not be moved from where you find it.

  • Seabirds fallen on the floor:
Close to coastal areas, and especially in Azores and Madeira archipelagos, seabirds such as the Cory’s shearwater are often victims of the glare of street lighting at night. If you find a seabird which with impaired movement, you should do the following:
- Slowly get closer and cover the bird with a cloth, towel or coat, being especially careful with the beak;
- Grab the bird and place it in a cardboard box with holes;
- Contact SPEA, requesting the collection of the bird. If nobody from SPEA is available to meet you, head to a poorly lighted beach, at night, and release the bird by putting the box on the floor, close to the sea.

For more information, check the webpage about the project Birds and street lighting in Madeira or the campaign SOS Cory’s shearwater in Azores.

Pictures: Project Salve uma Ave Marinha (Madeira island) © SPEA
Text: © Filipa Machado and SPEA
Translation: Rafael Galupa

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