found a bird?

If you’ve found a bird that has hit a window, contact a wildlife rehabilitator, bird rescue organization or vet for help.  Sometimes birds will survive the collision, but they may be stunned and vulnerable to predators or being struck by cars.

If the bird is unconscious or is stunned and not flying, you can help the bird by getting it to a qualified wildlife care-taker.

Here’s how to capture an injured bird for transport to a wildlife rehabilitator:

  1. Find a paper bag or box that is big enough to hold the bird, but not so big that the bird will bounce around.  For most songbirds, a lunch bag is perfect.  Open the bag wide and push out the folds with your hands so the bag is puffy.  Fold a paper towel or napkin and put it in the bottom of the bag or box to give the bird something to hold on to.
  2. Gently lift the bird, with your hand around its body, and put the bird carefully in the bottom of the bag or box.  The bird may be injured or disoriented, so make sure the bird is upright.  If you’re using a bag, make sure the bag is puffy with air, then close the top and clip it closed with a binder clip.  If you’re using a box, close the lid and secure it with two or three pieces of tape.
  3. Keep the bag or box in a quiet place.  Don’t place it near the edge of a table or shelf– if the bird starts to hop around, it might nudge the bag over the edge!
  4. If you drive the bird to the rehabilitator, keep things calm in the car– no radio, overpowering fans or loud swearing at other drivers.  Place the bag (or box) in a stable, shaded spot inside your car where the bag or box won’t slide or topple over.

Never give food or water to an injured animal– this can cause more harm.

bird rescue organizations in the Chicago region

Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation

847-842-8000    Chicago, IL at Northerly Island and Barrington, IL

Willowbrook Wildlife Center

630-942-6200    Glen Ellyn, IL

Chicago Bird Collision Monitors

773-988-1867    Chicago, IL

find a wildlife rehabilitator (outside the Chicago region)

Outside the Chicago region, contact your state wildlife or natural resources agency to find a rehabilitator nearby.  You need a permit, and experience, to care for wildlife.  State agencies maintain lists of licensed wildlife rehabilitators.

Avoid future bird collisions by making windows bird-safe.  Learn more here.

last updated 4/1/13