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What Constitutes an Emergency


Not every bird that is on its own, looks abandoned or alone, or seems to be in the wrong place, is in need of help. You may find a fallen nest, or a young bird that cannot fly. There are several important things to consider in these situations. Please read the information that follows, so that you can determine whether the animal needs help, or whether it is exhibiting normal behavior:


An animal requires immediate help if:


  • It is bleeding profusely.

  • It is unconscious or convulsing.

  • It has a broken leg or wing.

  • It has collapsed, or is staggering, or weak.

  • It has been burned.

  • It is entangled in fishing line, string, net, debris, etc. or its bill or muzzle is caught in a jar, container, plastic rings from canned beverages, etc.

  • It has a fish hook in its mouth or body.

  • It is stuck to a glue trap, fly paper or other sticky surface.

  • It has ingested oil, antifreeze or other chemicals.

  • It is covered with in oil, tar, etc.

  • Its eyes are crusted shut, or it appears to be blind.

  • It has been shot.

  • Its nest has fallen to the ground.

  • Its parents are known to be dead, injured or ill.

  • It is trapped in a vehicle or building.



Young animals that appear to be on their own may not require intervention. Parents normally leave their youngsters while they forage.  Many birds spend time on the ground when they are first learing to fly.  Some things that appear to be problems may instead be normal behaviors or stages of development.

If you come upon an animal that you think may need help but you are not sure, call your local wildlife rehabilitator before you go near the animal.

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