Birds are fragile creatures and bird owners and bird feeders alike must be well-versed in the symptoms of a sick bird. This particular article will focus on both pet birds and wild birds who may be visiting your property or bird feeders.
Symptoms of a sick bird include the following:
- Fluffed-up feathers (particularly in warm weather);
- The bird keeps his eyes closed or the bird blinks very slowly;
- Wet discharge or crusty accumulation around the eyes or nose;
- Mouth-breathing (with the mouth slightly open);
- Ruffled, dirty or unkept appearance;
- Refusal to eat or drink;
- Inability or refusal to fly;
- Sitting on the bottom of the cage, in the food bowl or the ground; or
- Missing feathers.
In addition, you can identify a sick or injured wild bird by the way that he reacts to humans. Wild birds spend very little time on the ground; when they’re on the ground, they’re typically partaking in a specific activity like eating or looking for food. A healthy wild bird will never just stand (or sit) around on the ground, as this leaves him susceptible to predators. This is a sign of sickness or injury.
If the bird allows you to get very close to him, especially if the other healthy birds nearby fly off or hop away, this is a sign of a problem. The bird is likely sick or injured.
If your bird is sick or injured, it’s important to bring him to an avian veterinarian as soon as possible. Most avian vets will examine and treat wild birds, though you must be willing to pay and care for the bird. If you’re unwilling or unable to care and pay for a wild bird’s care, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or wild animal hospital.
Two examples of wildlife clinics are Tufts Wildlife Center, at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Boston and there’s the CROW Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel Island, Florida. If you cannot find a local wild animal rehabilitator or clinic, contact your pet’s veterinary clinic and inquire. Virtually all veterinary clinics that do not deal in wild animals will have contact information for a facility that can help a wild animal.
Hint: If you’re the type of person who would be inclined to help a sick or injured wild animal, do a bit of research and locate the nearest wildlife rehabilitator or wild animal hospital. Write down the address and phone number and keep it in your cell phone so you’re prepared if you encounter an animal who requires rescue!
Also, it’s important to avoid doing further injury as you attempt to catch a sick or injured animal. In addition, know that virtually all large wildlife rehabilitation centers have volunteers or staff who are available to come out to your location to capture or trap the animal. If this option is available, it’s ideal to seek assistance from a professional, particularly when dealing with large, powerful birds such as raptors — bird of prey like eagles, owls and falcons.
See our related article for tips on how to safely catch a sick or injured bird!
For more pet care tips, visit the PetLvr archives.
Photo Source: Rubens Kroe on Sxc.hu