Wildlife Rescue Info — C.A.R.E.™ (2022)

Table of Contents
Baby Birds Opossums Raccoons FAQs Videos

Helpful information on birds, opossums and raccoons

If you need the services of a wildlife rehabilitator in the Chicago area, visit Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation at 847-842-8000 or Willowbrook Wildlife Center at 630-942-6200. For birds with injuries, try Chicago Bird Collision Monitors.

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Baby Birds

During the spring and early summer, many baby birds called "fledglings" are discovered. A fledgling is a young bird that has all its feathers, is almost ready to leave the nest, and has crash-landed during its first flight or has been pushed out by its siblings.

Too often, well meaning folks will find these fledglings and pick them up, bringing them to a wildlife rehabilitator to raise. The importance of returning a healthy baby bird to its parents to be raised can't be over-emphasized.

If you find a fledgling, fully feathered, with other adult birds making a lot of noise around him, give him a cursory check to see if he has any visible injuries. Birds don't have a keen sense of smell so it's safe to touch the fledgling. Look for blood around its beak, closed or unfocused eyes, rips or tears to its skin, or obvious broken bones. Check to see if it's breathing normally. A bird generally breathes fast, but it should not appear labored.

If, after your exam, the bird appears uninjured, it should be returned, or left in the area where it was found. Place the fledgling in bushes as high as possible or in the nest if you can locate it. You should move away and see if the parents come back. They should find the bird and will almost certainly feed it. If you don't see other birds approaching right away, keep watching and make sure that you can't be seen. If it's getting to be nightfall, you may want to put the fledgling in a box to keep it safe from predators overnight. Place it out again in the morning. Keep checking, and should it truly be abandoned, then call a licensed rehabilitator.

If you have found that the fledgling has injuries, call a wildlife rehabilitator. Do not give anything by mouth until you are told to do so. Birds can aspirate liquids into their lungs very easily so extreme care must be exercised. Keep the fledgling in a covered box on soft cloths. Keep it warm, but out of direct sunlight and drafts. Transport to the rehabilitator using care not to have the air conditioning in the car on too high, if at all. Chilling will cause further damage to an already compromised bird.

Should you find a baby bird without feathers, try to locate the nest and put the bird back in. If you have disturbed a nest of baby birds, and you do not want the nest where it is you have some alternatives. Put the nest with the baby birds in it into a strawberry/fruit basket and attach it close to where it was, but out of your way. The parents should come back to take care of their young. If you find a nest and can wait two to three weeks before disturbing it, the babies should fledge and then you can remove the nest from your way.

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Opossums

They've been around for 70 million years, They don't have a "permanent" home, instead they hang around for two or three days, eat what you have to offer, and go on their merry way. They are referred to as "Nature's Sanitation Engineers." What am I writing about? Opossums.

With tolerance and understanding humans can co-exist with opossums , which are a benefit to any home they visit, Unlike other wild animals, opossums are resistant to many diseases, including rabies. They are very clean and constantly groom themselves. They are non-aggressive and will not attack humans. You know those garden pests -- slugs and snails? The opossum has them for appetizers. He then goes on to cockroaches, crickets, and beetles to name a few other insects he finds a delicacy. Main course? Mice and rats or carrion, And dessert? Overripe fruit, or food discarded by man. The opossum is nocturnal and transient, however, he may return to your place after some weeks away depending on your hospitality.

Besides their natural predators, opossums have to deal with humans, cars, and cats. Very few survive to adulthood and those that do live for only one to two years. Opossums may growl, drool, and show their 50 teeth when frightened, but in reality are placid and prefer to avoid any confrontation. When an incident is unavoidable, "playing possum" is one of the most effective ways they defend themselves. When unable to flee, extreme fear places opossums in an involuntary coma. They become stiff and their mouths will gape open, a condition that can last 40 minutes to 4 hours. Most predators will abandon their attack when faced with a 'dead' opossum.

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Babies are born in the spring and average eight to a litter. Opossums are North America's only native marsupial (mammals with a pouch), and like baby kangaroos, opossum babies stay inside the mothers' pouch to nurse and develop. After 2-112 months the babies leave the pouch and ride around on their mothers' backs. At 4-1/2 months (or when they measure approximately 7 inches not counting their tail) opossum babies are able to tend for themselves.

The orphan opossums you find result when the mother is frightened and takes flight The babies fall off and cannot survive on their own- Opossum babies are very cute, white with dark ears and eyes, and even when young, the opossum knows to hiss and show its teeth when frightened. Baby opossums require very specialized care if they are going to survive and should be turned over to an experienced care-giver as soon as possible.

Information obtained from the Opossum Society of the United States.

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Raccoons

What homeowner hasn't found his garbage cans overturned many a morning and garbage strewn around? Neighborhood kids playing a prank? FBI checking up on you? No, to both. Chances are you have been visited by a "masked bandit "--also known as a raccoon.

The name raccoon is from the Algonquin Indian language and translates to "he scratches with his hands". Raccoons call the continental US home, and they are most comfortable near ponds, the CTA train tracks, the Canal or heavily forested areas where they have access to water. They have tactile hands, long, sharp nails, and a very inquisitive nature. Considering that most of their area has been turned into small communities of humans, it's amazing that they have adapted as well as they have.

Raccoons are mammals that eat meat and vegetable matter. Some of their favorite foodstuffs are the meadow mouse and crayfish. In the spring they eat more animal matter like insects, snails, frogs, worms, young fish, birds, and mammals since these items are abundant. In the summer and fall they consume more carbohydrates--corn, acorns, fruits and berries. If you feed your dog or cat outside your are probably feeding the raccoons too. Many area residents are delighted to see a mom and kits joining their cat at a nightly supper. They can be "trained" to come around the same time every evening for snacks.

Raccoons can grow to be a foot tall (at the shoulder) and weigh 20-30 pounds. While they will flee when faced by an enemy, they are strong enough and tenacious enough to stand and fight especially if there are babies (kits) involved. They mate mid-winter and give birth in early spring to between three and six kits with the average being four. Kits are completely dependent upon their mother for their first 16 weeks, after which they are fairly independent. They stay with their mom a little less than a year to learn the finer points of fishing for crayfish, and hunting for mice and snails, along with how to open those pesky garbage cans.

Raccoons are den animals who will look for a dark enclosed area to have their babies. If you have a hole in your roof or soffit where they can get into your attic, they will. Once they have set up housekeeping you have two options. First, wait until the family grows up and moves out, then repair the area they got in through. Your second option is to make them want to move. Place a bright light in their area, play loud music day and night and they might decide you are not the kind of neighbor they want to have. Mom will pick up each kit and move it to an alternate den.

A parent should never be trapped and removed from her kits as the kits will die. It's better to delay trapping until the kits are able to take care of themselves or trap in the early spring before they are born.

Every rehabilitator has tales of bringing up a raccoon kit. Kits consume as much time as a human infant, needing to be fed, burped, and put down for naps. When they get older they get into everything. (Stories abound of how two kits got into paint and handprinted everything in site including the living room couch). They can empty cabinets and open boxes in only a few minutes. They love to climb into and onto everything, only to get mad when stopped and removed.

Raccoon adults and kits can be exposed to, and die from distemper, a disease common to dogs and cats. Caution should be taken if you have un-vaccinated dogs or cats in your household and you find raccoon babies. Rabies, which is different from distemper, is transmittable to humans through a bite from an infected animal, but is not a threat in this immediate area at this time. You should always be cautious of any nocturnal animal around during the day light hours (especially if it's a masked bandit in your trash can.) By the way, if your garbage can has holes chewed in it it's probably squirrels, but more on that next issue.

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To find a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area, click here.

If you need the services of a wildlife rehabilitator in the Chicago area, visit Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation at 847-842-8000 or Willowbrook Wildlife Center at 630-942-6200.

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FAQs

Will the RSPCA come out for an injured pigeon? ›

Will the RSPCA take an injured pigeon? The RSPCA will take an injured pigeon, so if you do find one, see if you can give the bird some immediate assistance and then call the RSPCA for advice or help.

Can I take an injured bird to the vet? ›

If you find injured or sick animal that's small enough to handle, like a hedgehog or a garden bird, it's best to phone your local vet or rehab centre before you try to catch them. They will be able to give you advice on how best to do this. You can also make sure they are set up to care for that species.

Who do I phone for an injured bird? ›

London Wildlife Protection – for injured wildlife anywhere in London call 07909 795 064; RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital, 6 Clarendon Drive, Putney, London SW15 1AA.

Can you visit secret world? ›

Our centre is not open to the public and our work with wildlife is done behind closed doors to minimise human interference. However, there are some opportunities to visit us: Open Days – We host a series of open days throughout the year. These usually take place over a bank holiday weekend.

Can a bird with a broken wing survive? ›

Can a bird survive a broken wing? Yes, a bird can go on to live a long and happy life after their broken wing heals. One of the biggest threats during this time is predators, which is where you come in. A bird who can't escape on its own needs a safe space, and you can provide it.

What to do with a bird that can't fly? ›

Injured bird rescue

Any songbird you find on the ground who is an adult, rather than a fledgling, and who does not immediately fly away from you is in need of help. The bird is either sick or injured and must be taken right away to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

What does it mean when a bird is sitting on the ground? ›

This is normal behavior; the bird is not injured and will fly off in time. During the fall, winter, and early spring (September to mid-May), a bird on the ground unable to fly is probably injured. Slowly approach the bird, and if it doesn't fly away when you're within 10 feet or so, you can assume something's wrong.

Do vets euthanize injured birds? ›

Euthanasia definitely does not have to be a “do it yourself” process. Veterinarians will euthanize birds in most cases…. often they do not feel comfortable diagnosing or treating, but will still perform this important service.

Should you put an injured bird in a box? ›

If you find an injured bird, carefully put it in a cardboard box with a lid or a towel over the top, and place in a cool, safe place. Birds go into shock very easily when injured, and often die from the shock.

Where can I take an injured bird Bristol? ›

If you have found an injured or sick straying animal (including wildlife) please call us on 01179 724 567 Monday – Friday from 9 am – 4 pm, we will usually ask you to bring the animal to our Clinic here on Albert Road - please always call us first. We operate an out of hours emergency helpline.

How do I become a wildlife rehabilitator UK? ›

In the UK, there is no law that states you need a license to work as a Wildlife Rehabilitator. However, it is advisable to undergo training and achieve certifications that provide you with the skills you need to succeed in a wild animal rehabilitation career.

Where is Caerphilly Bird Rescue? ›

If you're unable to reach CBR by phone, birds in need of help can be taken to Unit 4, Caerphilly Indoor Market, CF83 1FR Mon-Fri 09:30 - 14:00 and Sat 12:00 - 16:00, or the bottom car park of Crossways Brewers Fayre Pub, CF83 3NL every evening at 18:00. Species Helped: Birds of Prey & Owls.

Who do I call for injured wildlife near me? ›

For an injured, distressed or deceased wild animal or other wildlife concerns, contact LA Animal Services at 888-452-7381. You can also contact your local City shelter directly. PLEASE NOTE: Most rehabilitators do not provide services to pick up wildlife.

Where can I take an injured wild bird near me? ›

If you have found injured or sick wildlife in the Los Angeles area, please contact one of the following resources:
  • California Wildlife Center. ...
  • Camarillo Wildlife Rehabilitation. ...
  • IBRRC (International Bird Rescue Research Center) ...
  • Lucky Duck Rescue & Sanctuary. ...
  • Marine Animal Rescue (Rescue and Transport to Rehab)

How can I help an injured bird? ›

Put the bird in a dark, warm, quiet space, away from children and pets. Avoid interacting with, talking to, and handling the bird, as this will cause it additional stress. Never give a bird food or water. Immediately contact your local wildlife rehabilitation facility.

Do birds drink water? ›

Birds have no sweat glands, so they need less water than mammals. However, they do lose water through respiration and in their droppings. Most small birds need to drink at least twice a day to replace the lost water. Birds get the liquid they need from their food and by drinking.

How long can birds go without food? ›

Bird Survival Without Food Based on Activity Level

While active: When in an active state, a bird with a body weight of 10%-20% fat, if not fed, will survive for 1 to 3 days. Similarly, if birds do not have stored body fat, survival time will be significantly shortened.

What to do if you see a bird with a broken wing? ›

Don't try to feed the bird or make it drink. If a bird has just hit a window, it may simply need time to regain its senses. If it has obvious injuries (such as bleeding or a broken wing), you should try to contact a wildlife rehabilitation agency.

What does it mean when a bird hits the house and dies? ›

As a whole, it could mean a message from someone in heaven, a sign of financial problems, a massive change, or even worse, the end of something. They could be either bad luck or good news. Before I go over the four main meanings in-depth, let's take a look at why most birds hit windows and doors.

How long can a bird stay in a box? ›

Leave the bird to rest inside the box for up to 4 hours.

Some birds will recover within 10 minutes while others may take around three to four hours. Try to resist the temptation to open the box every few minutes as it's better to leave the bird to recover on its own without further added stress.

Can birds eat bread? ›

Birds should not be offered many of the foods humans eat. Bread (fresh or stale): provides no real nutritional value for birds; moldy bread can harm birds. Chocolate: toxic to birds, just as it is to dogs and cats (it contains theobromine); never offer birds any foods containing chocolate.

What does it mean when a Blue Jay taps on your window? ›

Some believe the bird carries a goodwill message, while others believe it's a message of death. So generally, according to all traditions, a bird hitting your window signifies change. But as we said earlier, a bird hitting your window is a natural occurrence.

What does it mean if a bird hits you in the head? ›

The bird isn't attacking; it's just trying to scare you away. "It may seem like it's an offensive behavior and some people might find it offensive, but it's actually a defensive behavior on the part of the bird.

Why do birds fly on your head? ›

Parrots like to perch on high objects where they feel they can't be ignored. On top of someone's head is a great way to get some attention. It can also be a possible sign of dominance. Another reason is that some birds love to chew people's hair.

Is it humane to freeze a bird? ›

Note to everyone who works with birds and water fowl: Hypothermia and rapid freezing are not appropriate methods of euthanasia and are not considered to be humane unless the animal is anesthetized prior to freezing.

When should you put a bird down? ›

The only ethical reason for the termination of life in a companion animal is the animal's suffering…not the owners. If a bird has a terminal illness with no ready options, and it is in pain, euthanasia is appropriate.

How do you humanely euthanize a pet bird? ›

At YVC we euthanize birds by first administering a gas anesthetic. Within several seconds to a minute or two the bird is asleep, and then we give an injection of the same medication we use to euthanize dogs and cats. This is the most peaceful and humane euthanasia process possible.

What to do if you find a bird on the ground? ›

Put it back in the nest if it doesn't have feathers

If the bird is very small and still featherless, you should place it back in its nest. If you can't find the nest, put the bird on a branch safely out of reach of dogs and cats.

What does it mean if a bird doesn't fly away from you? ›

The following are indications that a bird may be sick or injured: The bird is quiet, dull, the eyes may be closed, and it has fluffed feathers (the bird looks “puffed up”). It may have an obvious wound, breathing problems, a drooping wing, or show lameness or an inability to stand. It does not fly away when approached.

What would you do if you find an injured bird or animal? ›

there are non-profit organizations everywhere to take care of helpless animals. Hence I should take the injured bird to the nearest veterinary clinic or any such non-profit animal care organization, where they can give it the first aids and basic treatment to sustain.

Will the RSPCA take an injured seagull? ›

Injured gulls are best reported to welfare organisations such as the RSPCA/ SSPCA/ USPCA or taken to a wildlife hospital or a local vet.

Can you call the RSPCA for birds? ›

In the instance that you've found a trapped bird please call our helpline on 0300 1234 999 during the hours of 8am-8pm.

Can you make money as a wildlife rehabilitator? ›

According to IWRC, entry-level annual pay will range from $20,000 to $40,000, with some senior positions at larger facilities making more than $75,000 per year.

What qualifications do I need to be a wildlife rehabilitator? ›

Pursue a degree

For example, you can get a degree in biology, ecology or animal science. The coursework you take in these degree programmes can give you specialised knowledge about different animals and their needs, helping you provide effective care and treatments as a rehabilitator.

What qualifications do I need to work with wildlife? ›

Academic qualifications

If you want to work on the scientific side of conservation, A-Levels in Biology and at least one other science are vital. Geography can also be useful. Following A-Levels, a BSc in Biology, Environmental Science or Zoology can be a good starting point before then specialising during a Masters.

What should you do if you find a baby bird? ›

Baby birds: Nestlings and fledglings

If you can locate the nest nearby, the best thing to do is simply place the nestling back in the nest. If you cannot locate the nest, leave the nestling where you found it or move it to a shaded area. The parents will come back. Don't worry, your scent won't deter the parents.

What county is Caerphilly in? ›

Caerphilly, Welsh Caerffili, county borough, southeastern Wales. The area west of the River Rhymney forms part of the historic county of Glamorgan (Morgannwg), and the area east of the river belongs to the historic county of Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy).

What do u feed a baby bird? ›

As you can probably imagine, baby birds need a lot of energy to grow and develop properly. For this reason, their diet consists mainly of insects. Baby birds will also eat some fruits and vegetables, but insects should make up most of their diet. You can also feed them birdseed in small amounts.

What do I do if I find an injured pigeon? ›

For most injured birds, place them gently in a box and keep them quiet, dark and cool. It may be that the bird is in shock and will soon recover so you can let it go. If it is more seriously injured, this will reduce stress on the bird until you can get advice on how you can help it.

Do RSPCA help injured birds? ›

An injured bird should always be passed onto a local vet, RSPCA in England and Wales, SSPCA in Scotland, USPCA in Northern Ireland or an independent rescue centre, so it can receive appropriate treatment without undue delay.

Can you call the RSPCA for birds? ›

In the instance that you've found a trapped bird please call our helpline on 0300 1234 999 during the hours of 8am-8pm.

How do you help an injured pigeon? ›

Transport your bird to the veterinarian in a carrier that is secure and allows some air to get in. Keep the bird warm by transporting the carrier on a heating pad, hot water bottle, or other container filled with hot water. Cover the carrier with a towel on at least 3 sides to minimize visual stimuli.

What does it mean when a bird is sitting on the ground? ›

This is normal behavior; the bird is not injured and will fly off in time. During the fall, winter, and early spring (September to mid-May), a bird on the ground unable to fly is probably injured. Slowly approach the bird, and if it doesn't fly away when you're within 10 feet or so, you can assume something's wrong.

What does it mean when a pigeon comes to you? ›

Pigeons are symbolic of fertility and prosperity, fortune, luck, and transformation. They're said to be one of the first bird species to be domesticated by humans and have been friends to us since ancient times. These birds are also symbolic of persistence, harmony and well-being, mercy and forgiveness, and freedom.

Why would a pigeon not fly away? ›

In many cases, the wrong diet is the main reason why young pigeons don't want to fly. Fanciers regularly feed their pigeons too much rich food and for too often. This makes the fledglings too fat to fly properly. At that point it's actually too late, because you end up in a vicious circle.

Where can I take an injured wild bird near me? ›

If you have found injured or sick wildlife in the Los Angeles area, please contact one of the following resources:
  • California Wildlife Center. ...
  • Camarillo Wildlife Rehabilitation. ...
  • IBRRC (International Bird Rescue Research Center) ...
  • Lucky Duck Rescue & Sanctuary. ...
  • Marine Animal Rescue (Rescue and Transport to Rehab)

Who do I call for injured wildlife near me? ›

For an injured, distressed or deceased wild animal or other wildlife concerns, contact LA Animal Services at 888-452-7381. You can also contact your local City shelter directly. PLEASE NOTE: Most rehabilitators do not provide services to pick up wildlife.

How will you help an injured bird or animal? ›

If I find an injured animal, I will -

I'll provide food and water to it and even build a temporary shelter for it so that it feels safe. I'll give it all the necessary medicines to quicken the healing process.

Is there a pet 999? ›

Answers to your FAQs. How do I report cruelty or where do I go if I need advice? To report cruelty please phone 0300 1234 999. We also have animal welfare help and advice online.

What to do if you found a bird? ›

Put the bird in a dark, warm, quiet space, away from children and pets. Avoid interacting with, talking to, and handling the bird, as this will cause it additional stress. Never give a bird food or water. Immediately contact your local wildlife rehabilitation facility.

How long does it take for RSPCA to come out? ›

The RSPCA is also regularly contacted for general pet health and behavioural advice. Since deploying Eptica Email Management online response times for veterinary advice has fallen from seven days to two hours, and for pet care and behavioural advice it has plummeted from 32 days to less than one hour.

How do you know if a bird is in pain? ›

The following are indications that a bird may be sick or injured: The bird is quiet, dull, the eyes may be closed, and it has fluffed feathers (the bird looks “puffed up”). It may have an obvious wound, breathing problems, a drooping wing, or show lameness or an inability to stand. It does not fly away when approached.

Can a pigeon with a broken wing survive? ›

It all depends on the type of injury. If it's an obviously old break (which you can feel by the callus of new bone around the break) and hasn't healed in a flightworthy position then it would probably be a case of euthanasia, but if the break is new, then we'd give it the best treatment and chance to heal.

What to do if you find a bird with a broken wing? ›

If it has obvious injuries (such as bleeding or a broken wing), you should try to contact a wildlife rehabilitation agency. Los Angeles Audubon has a great list of contacts in the Los Angeles area. If you have found a chick on the ground, it is almost always best to leave it where it is.

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