You have found an injured or baby bird!
There are many types of native wild birds in B.C from predatory eagles, to song birds and hummingbirds. Wildlife Rescue offers a place of comfort and care to all injured native birds of our province.
As spring arrives so do the number of baby bird calls and intakes at our wildlife hospital. Please take a moment to read this information and help us assess if this bird needs your and our help.
We see two types of development in baby birds that can help us try to identify whether we need to intervene.
Hatch with down feathers, eyes wide open and can walk or run immediately after hatching. Examples are Canada geese, mallard ducks and killdeer.
Hatch with no feathers, eyes closed and are contained in a nest. These babies are completely dependent on their parents for survival in their first weeks of life. Examples are songbirds such as robins, sparrows etc.
What should I do?
- Observe what you see before trying to capture
- Call 604-526-7275 (Wildlife Rescue’s Helpline) to leave a message with the details of your observation and your contact information
- Do take a photo of the scenario which can be emailed to email@example.com
- If capture is necessary, keep in a warm, dark place away from human voices and other pets or noises until a helpline volunteer can call you back
- Do not hold in your bare hands
- Do not keep for longer than 24hours
- Do not try to care for or fix injuries on your own
- Do not give food or water without professional advice from a licensed wildlife rehabilitator
If you think you have found a baby bird, stop, observe, and ask yourself the following questions…
What do you see?
- Is the bird obviously injured? Are you seeing exposed bone or blood? *
- Is the bird on the ground?
- Is the bird fully feathered?
- Is it naked? *
- Is the bird able to walk or run?
- Is the bird vocalizing?
- Is the bird gaping? (opening mouth for food)
- Do you see predators or have you witnessed a predator attack? *
- Is it covered in bugs or insects? *
- Does the bird look sleepy? *
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions indicated by a star (*) human intervention is required.
The best ambulance is the one already there – you. If you feel this case is more complicated or out of your comfort zone, please call the Wildlife Helpline for more advice at 604-526-7275 and/or follow these instructions:
How to Contain an Injured Bird
- Find a cardboard box that is large enough for the bird. A shoe box works well for songbirds
- Poke small holes in the box
- Take a towel or t shirt and place it quickly on top of the bird. Make sure the head is covered, this will help to calm the bird down
- Scoop the bird up and place it in the box
- Loosen the towel to uncover the bird
- Close the box securely and leave it in a dark, warm and quiet place to minimize stress on the bird
- Do not handle or look at the bird, minimizing stress is the best thing to do at this time
- Do not feed or give water unless specifically instructed by Wildlife Rescue staff
- Take a picture. We often ask for a picture when talking to you on our helpline. It helps to know what the bird looks like and the circumstances it is in
- Call the Wildlife Helpline (10am-4pm, 7 days a week: 604-526-7275)
If the animal is a larger bird with a pointy beak or a bird of prey with dangerous talons such as a hawk or owl, please contact Wildlife Helpline for advice on how to proceed with the animal, each situation can be different and many larger wild birds can be dangerous if approached.
After Hours (4pm-9am)
- Please contain the bird.
- Keep the bird overnight in a dark, warm and quiet space. Do not feed.
- Bring it to Wildlife Rescue in the morning or call the Wildlife Helpline (10AM – 4PM, 7 days a week: 604-526-7275)
- If the bird is in critical distress, please call 604-879-7343 for the SPCA Vancouver Night Emergency Officer (available 5pm-12am only)
Not in the Metro Vancouver area?
Find a local wildlife rehabilitator in British Columbia here.
How to Tell if a Fledgling Crow Needs Help
Found a young fledgling crow in distress? It could be part of its perfectly normal growth period in its life where it learns to fly!
Click here to learn the difference between a fledgling in danger, and a fledgling simply going through growing pains.