Injured or Emaciated Owls


If you find an owl that appears injured - lying on its back or side is not a good sign - or emaciated, and are actually able to approach and pick up the bird, it is likely that it is in a very poor state indeed- and will further be traumatised by being handled! Minimising stress is the prerequisite of effective first aid & remedial action - more birds are killed by shock than their injuries!

If you can, try to get the bird to someone experienced in dealing with these matters by following the procedures detailed below. A list of useful contacts nationwide can be found here or you can e-mail us at here or call us between 10am and 5pm on 03456 807 897 seven days a week throughout the year and we will do our best to help.

Please make a careful and detailed note of how & where you found the bird before calling.

Do not attempt to treat or feed the bird yourself. It is all too easy to imprint a youngster on humans, thus rendering it incapable of being returned to the wild, and there is no quicker way of doing this than hand-feeding. Neither should you attempt to examine any obviously injured bird yourself as this is also very stressful and requires a trained rehabilitator or vet to do so correctly!

Recognised practice for dealing with an injured bird is that you:

  1. Gently throw a jumper or blanket over the injured bird to keep it warm

  2. Put the bird into a well ventilated, darkened cardboard box - not so small that the bird will sustain further damage, but not so large that it can jump around inside. The box should preferably lined on the bottom with another towel or, if not available, newspaper. Never use straw or sawdust and do not place water in the box).

  3. Do not try to feed the bird. Get the bird to the nearest bird of prey centre as soon as possible.

  4. Remember that bird of prey centres and raptor rescue organisations are there to deal with birds of prey - see this list to find one near you. Contact the RSPCA about other types of injured bird, or take it to a vet.

  5. Always wash your hands if you have touched a bird.