Earlier this week, I saw my first ever Indigo Bunting. Unfortunately, I saw it after it struck a window at the building where I work, and I was called in to help it out. I thought other bird-lovers might sometimes face this situation and need to know how to handle it, so here are some simple tips from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s site, All About Birds.
Approach the bird cautiously. If it’s only slightly stunned, it may fly up suddenly and could attack if startled. Examine it very gently and carefully, moving it as little as possible.
- Yes: Contact a rehab facility immediately. Don’t try to care for the bird yourself unless you have experience and know-how.
- No: Pick the bird up gently and place it on a low tree branch or shrub.
- Yes: Leave the bird alone in the tree or bush, but watch for predators like cats that may attack it while it’s vulnerable. After a time, it will fly off on its own.
- No: If you don’t see any obvious injuries but the bird is unable to stand, place it in a dark box in quiet, safe location. Do not give it food or water or handle it any more than is necessary.
- Yes: Great! Your job is done.
- No: Wait another 15 minutes and try again. Repeat for an hour or two. If the bird does not recover by then on its own, contact a wildlife rehab facility for assistance.
Need a local rehab facility? Try this site for a pretty comprehensive listing: WildlifeRehabber.org
Migratory Bird Act: Technically it’s illegal to handle any bird protected by the Migratory Bird Act (which includes most birds) without a permit. It’s usually not a problem to interact with them for a few minutes to provide assistance, but private citizens are not allowed to keep them in captivity.