How to Handle an Injured Bird of Prey.

To rescue an injured bird of prey you should:

1. Make a note of the location of the bird. When the bird is ready for release, it is important to release the bird where it was found.

2. If possible, approach the bird from the rear. Be aware that the feet of the injured bird are its primary means of defense. The feet are strong and have sharp talons (claws). Anticipate that the bird will struggle when you attempt to pick it up or move it.

3. Carefully place a blanket, jacket, or any lightweight item over the bird and make sure the bird is completely covered.

4. Restrain the covered bird quickly by firmly grasping both legs. Use heavy gloves if possible.

5. Gather the covering together and gently but firmly lift the bird while taking care to keep the bird's wings folded against the body. Do not release the bird's legs until you can place it in a secure enclosure. A CARDBOARD BOX IS THE SAFEST WAY TO TRANSPORT AN INJURED BIRD.

Be aware that:

  • All birds of prey are protected by State and Federal law. It is ILLEGAL to harm, harass, or possess any bird of prey.
  • The WV Raptor Rehabilitation Center is licensed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to rescue and rehabilitate birds of prey.
  • A bird's chance of recovery is best when it receives immediate specialized care. Most veterinarians do not have the practical experience to properly care for an injured raptor.

IF YOU FIND AN INJURED OR ORPHANED RAPTOR(IN WEST VIRGINIA), CALL THE WVRRC EMERGENCY HOTLINE 1-800-540-6390
IF YOU ARE NOT IN WEST VIRGINIA, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR, THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, OR YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF.

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