Dove Rescue 101 – If The Bird Is Injured

This is the second in the series of Dove Rescue 101.  Read the prior Dove 101 posts for the beginning of the series.

If you find an injured dove or pigeon (and the very first thing is to make sure it is a dove or pigeon by using the identification page on our website)  you should take immediate steps to keep the bird out of further danger and to keep it quiet and warm. I have had success in capturing an injured bird by placing a large piece of sheet over the bird and then collecting the bird into the sheet.  It is often difficult to catch a bird with your hands, even when the bird is injured.  Remember, that by chasing the bird and grabbing at it, you can cause further injury and stress. If the bird has been caught by a cat, it needs to go to a rehabber immediately.  The bacteria from a cat’s fangs and claws are fatal to a bird.  The bird will need appropriate antibiotics (never use antibiotics meant for humans!) Do not attempt to apply antiseptic to the skin…a bird’s feathering and skin are too fragile for “human” antiseptics.   If you see that a wing has been damaged, here again the bird must be brought to a qualified rehabber.  In some cases the wing can be mended if the damage is not too severe.  A priority  is to keep the bird quiet and warm. Do not allow children to handle the bird, it will cause further shock.   You can keep the bird quiet and warm by placing it in a small shoebox, with holes punctured at the top for air.  Place a small piece of towel or paper towels so that the bird does not slip around in the box during transport.  Do not try to squirt water onto or into the bird. If the bird is alert, you can offer a few drops of water (from an eye dropper) along the side of the bill.  Do not attempt to feed the injured bird.  When you transport the bird, do not place any water into the box…it will only tip over and the bird will become wet and chilled.  The faster you can get the injured bird to a qualified rehabber, the better the chances are that it will survive.  Remember to call ahead to the rehabber.  Never leave a rescued bird “on the doorstep with a note”!  The chances are that a predator or ants will get to the unprotected bird.  If the bird is in a box or cage, the chances that it will dehydrate if left alone are very high. Call the rehabber to make specific arrangements for the rescued bird.  Leaving a message on an answer machine is not enough!  And,,,lastly, we thank you for helping our wildlife!  The next in our series..Temporary Care for a Rescued Bird.

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