WILD BIRDS DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS.
They are wild things and have wild instincts. They do not trust humans and do not accept other domestic animals as companions. Please do not consider keeping these incredible and fragile creatures as a pet – to keep a wild bird in a cage for the rest of its life is to doom it to a life of sadness and broken spirit.
For further information, please contact us!
WildRescue, Inc./Rabbit Rescue
If you are outside of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and need to find a wildlife rehabilitator, please go here:
Wild Bird 911
“I found a nest of orphaned baby birds. What do I do?”
Baby birds are never abandoned by their parents unless the parents are dead or in some way unable to come back to the nest. If you find a nest of baby birds, this is what you can consider doing:
- From a distance monitor the nest and see if the parents are coming back to feed the babies.
- If the nest has fallen to the ground with the babies, simply place the nest in a box, securing it as high into the tree as possible. Continue to monitor the situation to see if the parents are coming back to feed the babies. If you cannot place the nest in the tree, then pick a location that is predator-free and in dappled sunlight where the parents can plainly see/hear the babies.
If after replacing the nest and/or babies it has been 2-4 hours with no sign of either parent visiting the nest, it is time to consider human intervention.
“I found a baby bird on the ground. What do I do?”
If the bird is uninjured, then try your best to renest the baby bird. If the situation does not allow you to return the bird to its original nest and/or if the area is unsafe for the baby, contact us or your local wildlife rehabilitator
“How often does the mother feed the babies?”
Birds are amazing parents. They feed their babies as often as necessary – from every fifteen minutes to every hour, depending upon the age of the baby. It is not unusual to see both the mother and the father help feed the babies. Birds feed their babies during the daylight hours and “roost” once the sun goes down
“I have picked up the babies – won’t my scent keep the mother away?”
No – birds do not smell well and their main concern is feeding their babies. The human scent will not bother bird parents.
“The mother has not returned to the nest – what do we do now?”If you feel that the situation is life-threatening to the baby birds, then contact us or your local wildlife rehabilitator and/or wildlife center and follow our directions for safe transport.
“How do I know if the babies are old enough to survive on their own?”Once a baby bird has “fledged”, it often falls out of the nest (trying to fly) and hops around on the ground calling for its parents. The parents will continue to feed the baby and encourage it to hop up into low-lying shrubs and bushes where it will stay safe and continue to grow. Once the baby can fly, it will then follow its parents and continue to learn its survival skills. Again, if you ascertain that the situation is unsafe, then and only then should you intervene.
“My cat/dog just brought in a baby bird. What do I do now?”
Dogs crush and cats puncture. A wild bird that has been in the mouth of a cat is in great danger. The saliva of a cat actually carries billions of particles of bacteria and enzymes that break down the cellular structure of living tissue. Even if there appears to be no external wound, the sharp, pointed teeth of a cat could have easily punctured a vital internal organ. As quickly as is feasible and possible, get the baby to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator. Do not attempt to care for an injured bird yourself!!
A bird that has been brought in by your dog is also in danger, but at least the saliva of a dog is not fatal to a bird (or other mammals). However, a dog’s bite can crush a bird’s fragile bones. If there is any question to whether your dog has injured a bird, contact us immediately to determine if the bird needs emergency care. Separate the dog from the bird, and keep him supervised while he’s outside to make sure there are no more incidents.
“I’ve determined that a rescue is necessary. How do I transport them?”
If after having read the information on the 911 for Wild Birds page you have determined that a rescue is absolutely necessary, here are some instructions for preparing the bird(s) for transport to the rescue center. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us as this will help us improve these instructions for future use.
If the babies cannot be renested; if the babies are in imminent, life-threatening danger; if there is no sign of the mother for at least 2-4 hours; or if the birds are injured, contact a state-permitted wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. Follow the instructions below for transport to the rescue center.
Use a small container such as a shoebox or small cardboard box. Punch air holes in the lid. Line the shoebox with a clean, soft cloth or old t-shirt that you do not mind giving up. Place the birds inside the shoebox and put a rubber band around the box and lid, securing it for the ride.
Babies must stay warm! Fill a clean tube sock with uncooked white rice and tie it off towards the top of the sock with a piece of string or a good knot. Place the sock in the microwave and heat for less than a minute. Place the sock inside the shoebox and put a washcloth or other piece of clean cloth over the sock. You don’t want the sock to be so hot that it could burn the babies. The babies will crawl next to the warmth of the sock, and they can move away if it is too warm. Another option is to put a wet washcloth (wrung out) into a ziplock baggie and microwave until warm but not hot. This acts as a portable heating pad and should be placed underneath the cloth at the bottom of the shoebox.
If it is going to be a length of time before you can get the babies to a rehabilitator, please do the following:
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED THE BABIES – TO DO SO COULD CAUSE THEIR DEATH!
Follow the instructions above as per the shoebox or other small container. If you have a heating pad, set it on low and place the pad on a non-conductive surface (your bathroom counter or washing machine lid will do just fine). Place the container with the babies half-on and half-off the heating pad. This will allow the babies to move away from the heat if they need to.
Wild birds require a specialized formula that is high in protein. Rehabilitators have been trained to offer the formula appropriate for this species and know the correct feeding schedule and protocol for rehydration. You also run the risk of aspirating the baby (accidentally letting him breathe the fluid instead of swallowing it) by using an incorrect feeding utensil. Baby birds are incredibly fragile and do not take handling by humans well. They will die of stress if handled improperly or kept in a cage for too long. Keep baby birds away from children, household noise (such as vacuum cleaners and so forth), domestic pets and bright light.
If you determine that the bird needs to be seen by us please call us at 972-891-9286; be prepared to tell us the number of animals found, the physical condition of the animal, under what circumstances the animal was found, and your location. We field dozens of calls a day from all over the country, so please be as succinct as possible during your call. Animals can be dropped off at our center in Denton, TX Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 8:00pm and Sunday from noon to 6:00pm. We also have drop-off locations in Plano and Lewisville available Monday through Thursday from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Contact us for location information. We are a small, non-profit center – any donation you can give to help with the animals care is greatly appreciated!