Injured Owls & Other Birds of Prey - What to Do

What to do if you find an injured Owl or other Bird of Prey

Remember the following:

Minimising stress is the prerequisite of effective first aid - more birds are killed by shock than by their injuries! So, whatever you do, swift action is a prime necessity as any delay increases stress.

If you are actually able to approach and pick up an injured wild Owl or Bird of Prey, it is likely that it is in a very poor state indeed, and will further be traumatised by being handled!

Never attempt to examine any injured bird yourself as this is also very stressful and requires a trained rehabilitator or vet to do correctly!

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

  1. Gently throw a jumper or blanket over the injured bird to gently pick it up

  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 be 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. Do not cover the bird with a blanket or towel when it’s in the box for fear of it getting tangled.

  3. Get the bird to S.O.S. or your nearest bird of prey centre as soon as possible. Suffolk Owl Sanctuary is open 7 days a week from 8.30am until 4.00pm during the winter months, and until 5.00pm in summer. For emergency advice call 03456 807 897 Option 5

  4. Do not try to feed the bird.

  5. Do not try to give first aid to the bird - although well-meaning, if incorrectly applied the traumatism of the wrong procedure could hasten the worst outcome.

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

  7. Remember that bird of prey centres and raptor rescue organisations like S.O.S. are there to deal with birds of prey. If you’re not local to us in mid-Suffolk see this list to find one near you. Contact the RSPCA about other types of injured bird, or take it to a vet.