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Birds are very difficult to catch with bare hands. An old coat, blanket or towel will help if thrown over the casualty, although birds are most easily caught with a net. But remember, you will probably not catch a bird that can fly. Once you have rescued a bird, most can easily be held around the shoulders to prevent them from flapping their wings. Using both hands, your fingers should meet across the chest of the bird and you thumbs across the back. This will give a nice firm grip.

Pigeons, doves and small garden birds

All these birds are very susceptible to stress. It is best to transport them in a covered box. Do not leave them anywhere near children or other animals.

Herons, bitterns, grebes and other birds with long pointed beaks

These may all try to stab a handler especially around the face. If possible wear protective goggles when handling these birds, and always hold the head pointing away from you.

Birds of prey and owls

All will attack you with their feet, they don't often bite but it can be very nasty if they do. Always wear thick gloves to handle these birds and keep control of the feet. It is best to transport them in a box that is covered, and kept as quiet as possible.

Crows and gulls

All have very painful bites. Wear thick gloves for handling and watch out for flying vomit and poo! Once again they should be transported in a covered box.

If you find a bird and are unsure whether or not it is in need of help please call your local wildlife rescue centre for further advice and information.

When to assist an adult bird;

Bird cannot stand

Can mean that one or more leg is injured, or possible spine or head trauma; the bird needs medical attention.

One leg hangs useless

Fractured legs can be easily treated in birds, take to your nearest wildlife rescue centre.

Bird is a grounded swift, grebe, or diver

Swifts feed on the wing and cannot take off from the ground, grebes and divers can only take off from water. Therefore, if grounded, these birds all need assistance to take off again.

Bird is an ocean-going species stranded inland

Possibly blown off course by the wind. These types of birds will need to be taken back to the sea for release.

The beak is damaged

Birds cannot feed or drink with a damaged beak and will need immediate medical attention.

Bird has oil on its feathers

Oil causes a number of problems including loss of water proofing on the feathers, and if birds preen they will ingest the oil.

Bird fallen in water

(NOT water birds) Will become water logged and drown.

Caught by a cat

Any bird that is caught by a cat will need antibiotics, even if there are no visible signs of injury.