What To Do If You Find A Bird?
SONGBIRD DIE OFF (UPDATED 8/18): In late May, the Indiana DNR started receiving reports of sick and dying songbirds from Monroe County with neurological signs, eye swelling, and crusty discharge around the eyes. These reports have increased and now include counties around the state. The following species are primarily affected: blue jay, American robin, common grackle, starling, northern cardinal, brown-headed cowbird.
The public is being asked to use the DNR’s dead or sick wildlife reporting tool to report dead or sick birds near you. All birds have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus. Feeder restrictions have been requested to limit the spread in select counties currently. They include Allen, Carroll, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Lake, Marion, Monroe, Porter, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, Whitley.
It’s not too uncommon to find an injured bird that may need medical attention. This information is to help you identify the problem, not necessarily resolve it. It is always our goal to avoid separating a bird from its family and/or native habitat. In many cases, the mother may be feeding away from a nest and the bird is better left where it is found. But in some cases this cannot be avoided. If the bird is sick or injured (bleeding, broken wing, etc.) it will always be necessary to bring the bird to a wild bird rehabber for treatment.
Indiana maintains a list of wildlife rehabbers by county, through the DNR. Click here to download the latest PDF list of licensed rehabbers. If you are interested in becoming a wildlife rehabber, the DNR has an application process.
Many folks contact Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary each year to accept in injured and pet birds. Mary Gray provides a wild haven for birds, but does not perform rehabilitation efforts for wild birds. Please contact a local rehabber for injured birds.
If you need to transport a bird to a rehabber.
What used to be wide-open habitat for wildlife has now become our backyards. It is important that we know how to co-exist with wild animals, and how to determine the proper care for any that become orphaned or injured.
Many times you will come across a baby bird, rabbit, squirrel or deer that you think may be orphaned and in need of help. This is not always the case! Rabbits, for instance feed their young only once or twice a day, then the mother stays away from the nest so she is not calling anyone’s attention to it.
A few general rules of emergency care for any type of wildlife:
1. Leave the animal alone if the parent is nearby.
2. Leave the animal alone if it appears fat, bright-eyed and healthy.
3. Rescue the animal if you see that its parent is dead.
4. Rescue the animal if it appears weak, sick or cold.
5. Rescue the animal if it appears to be visibly injured.
6. Rescue the animal if it is in danger from traffic or other animals.
Until you can get advice from your humane society or wildlife rehabber, place the animal in a box with holes and a clean ravel-free cloth. DO NOT use grass for bedding, as it is usually damp enough to cause a chill. DO NOT attempt to feed or water the animal. Inexperience with the animal’s needs can be fatal. Avoid unnecessary stress by not over-handling any bird you might find that is need of a licensed rehabber. Any bird heading to a rehabber should be placed in a dark box and away from stimulation.
Indiana Audubon Society and the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary receives many calls and emails every year to assist in injured or sick wildlife. IAS does not have the licenses or experience to assist with sick or injured wildlife.
Please visit the Wildlife Rehabilitation page on the Indiana DNR website to locate a wildlife rehabilitator and locate additional information.