Millennium Post

HELPING HANDS

From rodents to farm animals to even your pets at home – animals need a little tender loving every now and then

HELPING HANDS

A bird just collided with the glass window of my house. It is injured. How can I administer first aid?

Find the bird

If the collision was minor, the bird might fly off right away, or it may move somewhat away from the window. If it were stunned, however, it would likely be underneath the window or very close by and may not be alert or moving.

Observe the bird closely

Before handling the bird, watch closely to see how it reacts. Many stunned birds will sit quietly as they recover, perhaps with their wings slightly drooped, and if they are in a safe area, they do not need to be moved. If the bird is unconscious or thrashing about, however, it may need additional care.

Check for injuries

If the bird is unconscious, gently pick it up or carefully check for visible injuries, including signs of broken bones or cuts. Other indications may be missing feathers or a discharge from the bill. If the bird is severely hurt, contact a bird rescue organisation to ensure the bird gets immediate, appropriate medical care. While handling the bird, it is always wise to wear gloves.

Keep the bird safe

If the bird appears just to be stunned, put it in a safe, sheltered place. If possible, leave the bird in the area where the collision occurred, but if the area is not safe from predators, put the bird in a small box or paper bag. The box or bag should be large enough for the bird to spread its wings, and it may be lined with newspapers or a clean rag. Loosely close the box while still ensuring the bird has plenty of air circulation, and keep the box in a quiet, warm spot as the bird recovers.

Give the bird recovery time

Depending on the severity of the impact, it may take just a few minutes or up to 2-3 hours for a bird to recover, and during that time it should be stimulated as little as possible. Do not open the box or bag to check the birds' condition, and do not poke or prod the bird to try and get a response. Instead, listen for it to begin moving around, which will be the best sign of its recovery. If the bird is showing no signs of recovery after 2-3 hours, it should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator even if there are no other injuries visible.

Release the bird

Once the bird begins to move and shows more activity, it should be returned to its environment. Take the box outdoors and gently open it in the same area where the collision occurred so the bird can easily get its bearings. The bird should fly out fairly quickly, but it may not fly far as it adjusts to the surroundings. If it is not safe to release the bird in the same area, take it to the closest similar habitat with food, water, and safe shelter.

Not all birds will recover from window collisions. Internal bleeding or injuries may not be obvious but can be fatal, and if the bird dies, it should be disposed of properly.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to manekaanimallove@gmail.com)

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