Pound Corner • Wangford • NR34 8RS
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Go back to our general advice page for how to help injured wildlife

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Wild birds and animals sometimes need our assistance but in most situations we can do more harm than good even with the best of intentions.

If you find an injured bird – Remember being handled and treated is a very stressful experience for an injured bird and before you attempt to catch it, you should consider the benefits of treatment weighed against this.  

So what should I do if I find an injured or abandoned bird?

If you find a young bird out of its nest, it is probably a fledgling and probably not abandoned so is likely to be best left alone.

Young garden birds usually leave the nest around two weeks after hatching – just before they can fly. They will have grown all or most of their feathers, are very mobile and can walk, run, flutter and hop onto low branches and often remain in nearby cover for the following few days.  

Fledglings are fed by their parents – the parents are rarely far away and are probably collecting food. However, they will not return to the fledglings until you are gone. 

If you can see or believe the bird to be injured, please make a note of where you found the bird as it is sensible to return it to a safe place as close as possible to where it was found when the bird has recovered or the danger has passed.

Handling small birds

Catching an injured bird can be difficult and careless handling may cause further injury. Handling must be firm but gentle. Small birds (up to blackbird size) can be held in one hand. Place your hand over the bird so that its head fits between your forefinger and middle finger. The rest of your fingers will naturally wrap around each wing, holding the bird firmly.

If the bird is injured, carefully put it in a ventilated box with a lid or a towel over the top and place in a cool, safe place. Darkness reduces stress and is likely to be the best first aid you can give a bird. Birds go into shock very easily when injured and often die from the shock.

Handling larger birds 

Medium-sized birds are best held with two hands, one over each wing. Handling large birds such as birds of prey and large waterfowl requires great care because of risk of injury to the bird and the handler. Unless you are used to handling large birds, it is best to call an expert rescuer to the bird rather than try to capture it yourself.

Medium-sized birds are best held with two hands, one over each wing. Handling large birds such as birds of prey and large waterfowl requires great care because of risk of injury to the bird and the handler. Unless you are used to handling large birds, it is best to call an expert rescuer to the bird rather than try to capture it yourself.

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How to help baby or injured gulls

It can be common to find a chick on the ground. An uninjured chick must be left where it is in the care of its own parents. If it is in danger, it can be moved a short distance to a safer place, but be wary that the parents may try to protect the chick and fly at you if you are near it.

The parents look after them until they fledge after five or six weeks, and for a period afterwards. Gulls are long-lived birds - the larger species only start to breed when four years old and some can live until their upper twenties.  

Injured gulls are best reported to welfare organisations such as the RSPCA, or taken to a wildlife hospital/charity or local vet. 

The RSPB is a conservation organisation and they do not have any facilities, resources or expertise to care for injured or baby birds.

Wildlife Rescue information and contact details

Seal & Bird Rescue Trust
Address: The Barns, Mill Common Rd, Ridlington, North Walsham NR28 9TY  
Phone: 01692 650338  
Website: https://marineandwildliferescue.org.uk/

Birds of Prey and Owls 

Fritton Owl Sanctuary
Address: Access to the sanctuary is through Fritton Plant Centre.   
Fritton Plant Centre, Beccles Road, Fritton, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR31 9EX  
Telephone: 07951 786069    
Website: https://www.great-yarmouth.co.uk/Great-Yarmouth-Fritton-Owl-Sanctuary  
Email: frittonwlsanctuary@gmail.com       

Phoenix Bird of Prey Rescue 
Telephone: 07914661385  
Email: info@phoenixbitdofprayrescue.org    

Suffolk Owl Sanctuary
Address: The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, Stonham Barns, Pettaugh Road, Stonham Aspal IP14 6AT    
Telephone: 03456 807 897   
Website: https://www.owl-help.org.uk
Email: info@owl-help.org.uk  

Raptor Foundation
Address: The Heath, St Ives Rd, Woodhurst, Huntingdon PE28 3BT  
Phone: 01487 741140  
Website: https://raptorfoundation.org.uk/

Note: Inclusion in our directory is NOT an endorsement. You are strongly advised to check the suitability of any organisation you contact to help with your wildlife casualty