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First aid
Raptor Rehabilitation and Research

 NEW >> "Rosie", the Peregrine

 

What to do with an injured raptor?

There  are some important things to keep in mind:

  • The bird will not react as you expect it to! You want to help, still you are an enemy. Raptors that are not very seriously injured will either try to escape or fight. 
  • A long struggle can make things worse!
  • Try to avoid chasing the bird all over the place!
  • Be careful with talons and beaks, if a larger raptor grips you, you will not be able to free yourself alone! The talons are usually more dangerous than the beak.

Preparations:

  • If possible, look for a cardboard box just a little larger than the bird itself. Put in something for the bird to grip, some small branches, or a towel. Any piece of cloth that is clean and not too thin will do.
  • Never use a wire-cage, this is an absolute "feather-killer", also the bird is very likely to wipe off its cere completely when trying to go right through the wire!!
  • Cut some small holes to avoid suffocation and too much heat, especially in summer. 
  • Get some string ready to make sure you can really keep the box closed after the bird is in it, larger raptors can be very strong!
  • Prepare a blanket or any piece of cloth big enough to cover the whole raptor. You could even use your jacket or a sweater with smaller birds. 

Difficult part:

  • Take the blanket (jacket, ...) and try to quickly cover the bird with it. Do not hesitate, your movements should be well-planned, properly directed and fast. You must try to get the whole bird underneath. Don't go for a long struggle! 

  • Once the bird is caught avoid its escape by holding the cloth down. Wait a few seconds for the bird to calm down.

  • Caution: some species prefer to turn over onto their backs and grip you with their talons. Have them grip the blanket or whatever and cover them up, moving them to the side. 

  • Now with the help of the blanket (or whatever piece of cloth), grip the bird from both sides, pressing its wings well  against the body (hold tight!). Beware of the talons! Lift it from the ground and put it into the box. Let go cautiously, (don't drop the bird or throw it in!), quickly take away the cloth and close the lids, don't forget the string!!

  • Check the strings well, before you put the box into your car, especially with larger raptors!

  • Keep the bird in a dark place, but avoid too much heat. 

  • Do not feed the bird! 

  • If the bird is very weak, too weak to fight, offer it some water, do not force it to drink, you might very well kill it.

Where to take the bird:

  • First idea would be to contact the next veterinarian.  Most vets will help you willingly, only rarely they can treat an injured raptor.  They can never have the experience. I'm not trying to say, that vets aren't capable of helping animals - that's what they have studied for. But an injured raptor is not a domestic animal. The main problem is, most veterinarians have no cages to keep the raptor. So if the bird can be treated, who will keep it then??

  • Try to find a raptor rehabilitation facility near your place and contact them. Ask for help there. You can find some very useful links on my "Links" - page. You can also contact me for advice with the help of Human Click Direct Chat (real time) at the bottom of this page, whenever I am online. If not, it displays: "Leave us a message!" or "Back in five minutes!"

The sooner the bird is treated correctly, the quicker it can be released to the wild again, the better are the chances of survival. Let professionals do the job!

Very important: In most countries it is forbidden to keep birds-of-prey or owl-species privately!!!

 

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