JUST IN CASE...
What Should I Do
if I Find a Baby Owl or an Injured Owl?
If you find an injured Barn Owl
- please contact
specialist such as a registered raptor rehabilitator, or
a veterinary surgeon.
If you need a local “wildlife rescue” center, please
telephone your local
or your local Wildlife Trust.
who may be able to give you the number for your local
bird of prey rehabilitator.
Please note the following
In common with most other wild creatures, birds of
prey fear man more than anything else. Any raptor which allows itself to
be picked up is very ill and probably close to death. Unnecessary
handling will only jeopardize its chances of survival.
Injured birds of prey require immediate, specialized care and any delay
in administering this attention could seriously reduce the possibility
of the bird making a full recovery.
The successful rehabilitation and re-release of wild raptors requires
specialized knowledge and proper facilities. Raptor Rescue has a
countrywide network of rehabilitators who have the necessary experience
and are equipped to handle injured birds of prey.
The following rescue technique would be suitable in most circumstances,
however these are only guidelines and we should stress that each case is
different and should be treated on its merits.
a cardboard box of a suitable size to accommodate the bird to be
rescued. Ensure that the box is well ventilated.
You will require a towel or blanket large enough to completely
cover the bird.
Position yourself between the bird and any possible hazards,
such as roads, rivers or ditches.
Approach the bird slowly, but positively. Place the towel or
blanket over the bird.
Expect the bird to struggle when first
covered. Quickly restrain the bird under the covering.
Once it has calmed down, ensure that the bird is completely
7. Using both hands, pick up
the bird complete with towel or blanket and place it into the
The box should then be put in a quiet, dark and warm position.
Resist any temptation to look at the bird, as this can often do
more harm than good. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED THE CASUALTY.
Contact specialist assistance such as
Raptor Rescue, a local veterinary practice, the RSPCA or DEFRA.
Beware of ‘helpless’ young birds.
Often young birds are perfectly fine, and
should be left alone. Do not go near injured or apparently helpless baby
birds unless you are sure you are safe, and that it is necessary action.
Barn Owl youngsters are often able to climb trees and can usually find
their own way back to the nest site, where the parents take the food.
However, occasionally owlets get out of boxes before they can fly (get
our advice on box designs) and Barn Owls will
not feed their young
on the ground, as some birds do. In this situation it is often necessary to
return the baby Barn Owl to its
nest site. Not always simple! If a
grounded flightless owlet Barn Owl is returned to the nest quickly, it
is usually certain to survive. Checking nests requires a license, so do
not return to the nest again to check! Let the owls get on with it.
Young owlets that have been without food for a long time may be
dehydrated and drained of energy, and so a vet or rehabilitator would
give them saline + glucose. Normally they get all the water they need
from their food.
Handling raptors requires special care because the
talons can cause serious injuries. Experienced people use thick leather
gloves for handling birds of prey, and have had training. (Is it really
sensible for you to have a go?).
Advice must be
given to inexperienced
handlers to ensure that the legs are restrained at all times, either by
completely enclosing the bird in a thick towel or blanket or, for short
journeys, firmly holding them. Daytime-flying birds of prey are easier
to catch in low light and this could be used in certain circumstances
e.g. a bird trapped in a building, an injured raptor roosting in a tree.
And be SMART...
to put on a good pair of gloves
before trying to pick us up!
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