What To Do With A Bird With A Broken Wing? Explained

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For a bird, having a damaged or broken wing is a major injury that may cause them great distress. Depending on the circumstances, it is essential to handle the bird with care.

There are distinct guidelines to follow if you discover a wounded wild bird as opposed to one that pertains to domesticated or companion birds. Generally speaking, touching and disturbing wounded wild birds may cause them great stress, so you should carefully assess if attempting to catch it would be useful. The only way to assist it if it has a broken wing is to catch it.

A veterinarian must provide emergency care to a pet bird that has a broken wing. A wild bird that has been hurt by a cat and now has a broken wing also needs emergency care.

The methods to identify a bird with a broken wing and what to do if you come across one will be covered in this tutorial.

Important Details

Handle a wounded wild bird only if absolutely required.
When caring for pet birds with damaged wings, see a veterinarian.
It is important to first get in touch with your local wildlife rescue center, organization, or specialist; they may provide you advise relevant to your circumstance or save the bird and provide it with the greatest care.
See a veterinarian (for domesticated birds) or wildlife rescue (for wild birds) right away if the bird has been attacked by a cat.
Once you’ve determined if the bird has a broken wing, you may aid it by giving it food and water (NOT forcing feeding it), depending on the species, and covering it in a cloth and putting it in a covered and well-ventilated box.
When working with wild birds, put on gloves and wash your hands afterward.

Basics of Injured Birds

possibly with the best of intentions, human interaction may be very stressful for wild birds and possibly be detrimental. This is something to keep in mind when trying to care for a wounded wild bird.

The bird must be trapped if you believe it may have a broken wing so that it may be examined and given assistance.

You should get in touch with a specialist in wildlife care and rehabilitation unless you have prior expertise catching, handling, and tending to birds. Most places will have nearby wildlife rescue organizations or bird care specialists. Find the professionals in wildlife care in your area and get in touch with them right now. Give important details, such as:

The bird species (assuming you know what it is)
The bird’s age, if at all feasible
The signs that it is displaying (for information on “how to tell if a bird has a broken wing,” read below)
Where and under what circumstances did you find it?
The bird’s location and your name

Remember that it can take you calling around to a few different organizations, agencies, or centers before you discover someone who can assist you. Wildlife rescue efforts are often supported by charity or public funds. When you call, they could not have enough money, room, or resources. Certain veterinarians may provide wildlife assistance; however, the cost of these services may vary based on the level of care required for the bird.

Experts in wildlife care may provide situation-specific guidance or come rescue the bird and provide it with the finest care available. This increases the bird’s chances of survival and eventual release and is often preferred over tending to its injuries oneself. Before trying to catch a bird yourself, make sure you wear gloves. Birds should never be handled close to the face because they might spread sickness.

Tiny Birds

Small birds are defined as those that are no larger than a typical blackbird.

A wounded wild bird may be very difficult to capture, and smaller birds are more easily harmed. Therefore, unless you are an expert, never handle a little wild bird without proper training or expertise since this might injure the bird even more.

To prevent hurting the bird, it is crucial to handle it both softly and forcefully. With its head sticking out between your middle finger and forefinger, you may hold it with one hand by putting one hand on top of the bird. Don’t press the bird too tight, but make sure it can’t fight its way out or hurt itself trying to flee. Using your remaining fingers, encircle the remaining birds and secure their wings to your body.

Big Birds

You can hold medium-sized birds, about the size of a pigeon, in two hands by supporting each wing with one hand. Even though the chance of hurting a bigger bird is lower, you should use caution and should only do this if you are knowledgeable and experienced.

The likelihood of you being hurt increases with the size of the bird. To prevent harm to the handler, handling large birds such as owls or birds of prey carefully and with specialized understanding is necessary. It is advisable to contact a bird rescue specialist rather than taking on this risky task on your own.

How to Spot a Broken Wing in a Bird:

1. Is It a Fledgling?

Should the bird seem juvenile with tousled feathers and have difficulties in flight, you could have seen a recently fledged offspring. This is typical during the nesting season (which varies according on where you reside in the planet). The bird may have recently fled the nest if it seems little and disoriented but is hopping about and generally appears awake and energetic. Observe it to see whether its parents are coming back to feed it.

2. Go Up To The Bird

You may attempt to approach it carefully once you have established that it is not a baby bird that its parents have abandoned but you are still concerned that it may have a damaged wing. When you are three meters away from it, if it does not take off, it probably has an injury or is sick.

Look for any telltale indicators of a broken wing before trying to catch the bird. The bird indicates weakness if it is sitting and seems sleepy. It could be experiencing shock if it seems bewildered. This can be the result of trauma from another incident or a damaged wing.

Make an effort to search for visible wounds, such as blood. It is best to contact wildlife rescue immediately if you believe the bird has been attacked by a cat. Septicemia is a significant danger and may kill a bird in about 48 hours. If the bird is tamed, you should call a veterinarian right away.

3. Examine Your Posture

The wings of birds should hang equally on both sides of their bodies. A wing fracture may be indicated by a drooping or malformed wing. Proceed to the next step if you see this.

4. Examine the wing

After you have the bird trapped, you may check the wing for any fractures. Gently remove the wing tip from the body by holding it. Stretching the wing and feeling the bones and joints for any possible fractures or dislocations will be aided by this. If you are not comfortable with this, speak with a local specialist in bird care. The bird may have to be put to sleep if its injuries are so severe that it cannot heal or if it has additional major wounds.

How To Assist A Broken-Winged Bird

You can aid the bird if you have to capture it yourself instead of contacting a veterinarian or animal rescue center.

1. Place the bird in a box after wrapping it with a cloth.

After capturing the bird, gently cover it in a towel or piece of clean linen. In an attempt to gently fix the wing in its naturally folded position against the bird’s side. Put it in a covered box that is well-ventilated (has openings or slits). Shock may be lessened by the darkness, seclusion from loud sounds, and stimulus from outside sources.

The box should be kept secure and warm, but not too heated, so that kids, dogs, and drafts won’t disturb it. Minimize the amount of movement of the bird.

2. Make The Wing Immobile

When the bird has calmed down, you may attempt to immobilize the wing, which will relieve its agony and prevent it from hurting itself any further. Use vet rap or micropore tape to secure the wing in its natural folded posture, since this is how a bird would hold its wing while perched on a branch. This step is crucial because the tapes won’t cling to the feathers and create issues when removed. For further details on how to bandage a bird’s broken wing, see this link.

Try this only if you are experienced with it.

3. Give the bird water and food.

NEVER try to feed the bird by force. If you are waiting for wildlife rescue to come, you probably won’t need to give the bird food or drink. When the bird is in the hands of the specialists, they can handle this.

On the other hand, you may give the bird water drips from a dropper if you are the one taking care of it. Water may get into the lungs of birds and create major health issues, so avoid shooting it down their throats. If the birds have the strength or need to, they should be allowed to drink the water from the dropper.

The food you give the bird will vary depending on its age and species if you have to feed it by hand. For more thorough instructions on what to feed an injured bird, see this link.

Legal Aspects to Be Considered for Wild Bird Injuries

Finally, if you decide to do your own wild bird rescue, there can be legal implications. The majority of the time, it is acceptable to rescue and treat wounded birds with the goal of healing them up before releasing them back into the wild.

On the other hand, some species are protected differently if they are uncommon or endangered. Rehabilitating potentially hazardous species, such eagles or raptors, should not be done by a non-expert. If some birds are going to be lawfully kept in captivity while you are taking care of them, they may need to be registered with the appropriate authorities.

Make sure you are aware of the rules pertaining to rare, endangered, or even deadly birds in your nation or area. The UK-specific regulations may be found here.


Can I aid a bird that has suffered a broken wing?

You should assist the bird if you believe it has broken a wing. How you handle this depends on the circumstances. It is advised to contact your nearby wildlife rehabilitation or care facility if the bird is wild. Should it be a tamed avian, get in touch with your nearby veterinarian. There are methods you may aid an injured bird yourself if you feel comfortable handling and tending to it, or if you are unable to get in touch with your local wildlife specialists.

Can the damaged wing of a bird repair itself?

A severe fracture or dislocation needs specialized treatment from a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator since it cannot mend on its own. If the fracture is minor and straightforward, and if the wing is not handled or moved often, it has a greater chance of healing.

How much time does it take a bird to mend from a broken wing?

Depending on the kind and extent of the damage, the healing process is not straightforward. The bird’s recovery period will increase if it suffers further wounds. Larger birds need more time to recover. Recuperation may take up to three weeks, as a general estimate. The bird should be transferred to a wildlife rescue center or see the veterinarian on a regular basis as an expert should ideally be watching over the wing.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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