How to help an injured or sick Bird of Prey 

Not all young birds are sick or injured, sometimes they are just over adventurous when learning to fly and need to be left alone for their parents to return and care for them. If left alone owls can often climb trees and their parents are used to finding them in different places.


Only if the young chick has found it's way near a road, bridal way or busy dog walking path should you attempt to move the chick further into the thicket for safety!  

Using both hands cup  around the chick gently holding its wings; best done from behind the bird with its legs facing outwards. The chick will be scared and may wriggle to try and escape, keep hold but do not squeeze the bird as they are very fragile. Then move the bird to safety; if you can spot a nearby low branch, carefully place the bird on a branch. Once you see its feet take a grip of the branch, let carefully go and slowly back away. It's a good idea to watch for a few moments to make sure the chick is ok but not too close to worry the chick any further.  Once sure leave the bird as its parents are very unlikely to come to the chicks aid, in your presence.


Where a Bird of Prey appears sick or injured, minimising stress is the prerequisite of effective first aid - more birds die from shock than by their injuries, so never attempt to examine any injured bird yourself as this is very stressful and requires a trained rehabilitator or vet!


If you are able to approach & pick up an injured wild Bird of Prey, it is likely that is in very poor health. Using a large towel or similar gently throw it over the injured bird and place it in a strong dark cardboard box with a piece of carpet or old towel in the bottom to give it something to grip


Do not put it in a wire cat box or wire cage as the wire can damage feathers & harm the bird further. Dark cardboard boxes will stop the bird thrashing around and damage itself 



Whatever you do, swift action is a prime necessity to avoid any further stress. If you are able to approach & pick up an injured wild Bird of Prey, it is likely that is in very poor health.




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.


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