Secret World Wildlife Rescue

Posted by Secret World Wildlife Rescue on 12th Mar 2021

Secret World Wildlife Rescue

Spring is a busy time for wildlife with many species in the UK having their first cubs, chicks or kittens

of the year between February and May. This also means that we all have to be extra vigilant and

know what to do if we find a wildlife casualty.

What do you if you find an injured bird

If you come across an injured or orphaned bird – and this first part applies to all species, including

mammals – please do not intervene! Your first action should be to make sure there are no more

dangers present, clear any pets from the area, then call Secret World Wildlife, or local wildlife rescue

or vets if we are not available. Secret World Wildlife Rescue takes in casualties from all across the

south-west of England, but we are happy to help with queries from anywhere in the country.

An animal doesn’t show pain in the same way that a human does. Some don’t even make a noise.

You may not be able to tell if an animal is in pain, so avoid moving an animal that is obviously

injured, if possible.

Babies don’t always need our help. Mum might be nearby. Well-meaning rescuers sometimes bring

fledgling birds to us who may not have needed rescuing.

First check whether the baby bird is obviously injured. You can usually do this without picking it up.

It’s best not to touch the young bird if possible. There are some species which we would particularly

advise against touching, like baby jackdaws who will be fledglings for a while and stay with their

parents for some time.

If the baby bird has obvious injuries then please call Secret World, or your local wildlife rescue centre

or vet, as they may want to take it in for treatment. If you’re concerned about its immediate safety

(perhaps your cat is watching close by) then get pets away or cover the bird with a box or plant pot

while you’re calling for help.

Be a WildLifesaver: remove immediate dangers, but avoid moving injured or baby birds if possible.

If the bird is featherless then it may have come out of the nest too early for some reason. If you can

see the nest and there’s no immediate danger, pick the bird up carefully using a cloth or towel and

place it back in the nest.

Keep an eye on it, and if the parents don’t return within an hour or two please call Secret World, or

your local wildlife rescue centre or vet, for advice.

If the bird is a fledgling it is unlikely to have been abandoned. Fledglings may spend a couple of days

hopping around on the ground after leaving the nest, before flying. We get a great number of

‘rescued’ fledgling birds who would have been better left where they were.

The little bird’s parents might be right nearby. If it’s in danger, move it to safety if needed, and try to

keep pets away for a few days while the youngster learns to use its wings. If it’s injured, call for


Be a WildLifesaver: call for advice when you need to

You may be advised to contain a wildlife casualty (such as a bird or small mammal) while you’re

waiting for help to arrive. There are a few steps you can then take to make your casualty


Carefully place the animal in a box with non-slip bedding like a clean towel, which will help it stay

warm. Use a box with a lid so it can’t escape – and remember to put holes in the top to allow your

casualty to breathe!

Keep your casualty somewhere warm, dark and quiet. If the container is clear, cover it with a towel

or blanket as this will help keep the animal calm. Remember this is going to be a stressful experience

for him/her!

Don’t worry about feeding your casualty. You may be advised to leave a small shallow dish of water

in the box/container, but this may depend on the condition of the animal and whether help is going

to arrive quickly.

Be a WildLifesaver: if you need to contain an injured animal, remember – warmth, dark, quiet