How to Feed Injured Wild Birds

Wild birds can become injured.
Wild birds can become injured. (Image: bird image by Kevin McGrath from

If you find an injured wild bird, you may not know how to handle the situation. There are some simple guidelines you can follow. But if you don't feel equipped to handle the emergency or believe the bird is too severely injured to move, contact your local animal shelter or wildlife center. You should avoid leaving the injured bird alone to suffer.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Blanket or towel
  • Box
  • Newspaper
  • Tweezers

Put on protective gloves if the bird is large or has talons or a beak that could injure you. Find a box that the bird will fit into and line it with newspaper.

Grasp the bird gently in one hand if it's a baby bird. Be careful not to agitate his injury. Also, don't cover his head. Allow it to poke out between your thumb and pointer finger.

Place a towel or blanket over a larger bird. This will help keep him calm and make him easier to catch.

Put the bird in the box. The box should have a lid and plenty of holes to keep it ventilated.

Take the bird to your local animal shelter, wildlife center or veterinarian's office to find out if his injury is treatable and what you should be feeding him. The professionals should be able to advise you about the bird's proper diet. They may also be able to treat the injury. You should avoid treating the bird's injury yourself.

Push the appropriate food gently into a baby bird's mouth using tweezers. The baby bird should open his mouth when he's ready for food. Don't just drop the food in because he may not be able to swallow it. When he's finished, he'll close his mouth. After a baby bird is fed, he will produce a fecal sac. You should remove this sac using your tweezers and dispose of it. Clean your tweezers thoroughly before you feed the bird, after you feed the bird and after you remove the sac.

Open the bird's mouth gently if he doesn't open it or if he's an adult bird that doesn't yet trust you to feed him. You should then be able to push food into his mouth using your tweezers. After you feed him once, he should understand that you're his feeder and open his mouth for you.

Moisten the food for the bird if possible to make sure he gets enough water. Never give a wild bird water because it can drown him.

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