Do’s and Don’ts of Caring for Injured Wildlife

What if I find an injured bird?

It is important that an ill or injured bird receives help as quickly as possible. We recommend placing the bird in a warm, dark, quiet environment right away. This might be a shoebox that has a few ventilation holes in it, or even a paper bag. An injured bird needs to be transported to Liberty Wildlife as soon as possible.

I found a baby bird and will bring it to Liberty Wildlife but I can’t until after 5pm. What do I feed it until then?

If the baby bird is gaping its mouth for food, you can soak dry puppy or kitten food in water until it is spongy. Squeeze out the excess water and offer a bit of the food to the baby on the clip end of a pen cap. This is the only food you should offer. An injured or stressed bird will not eat.

Can I give it water with an eye dropper?

No. This may result in aspiration, which can cause a bird to die. Birds get all the fluid they need from their food. Most birds do not carry water in their beaks.

What if I find an injured hummingbird?

Injured hummingbirds must be transported immediately. If the hummingbird can not be transported within the hour, keep it hydrated in the following manner: place your finger over the end of a drinking straw that has a few drops of water in it. The bird will take water from the lower end of the straw. Repeat this every fifteen minutes until the hummingbird is transported. Please remember this is only a temporary measure.

What if I find a duck?

Do you have a back yard? Do you have a pool? Do you have any bushes or foliage in your yard, around your pool?

If you answered “yes” to these three questions, you might also have a family of ducks living in your yard! Each year, hundreds of mallards and other ducks make nests under greenery around people’s pools in the valley. The mother will lay up to 14 eggs, incubate them quietly for a month, and voila! One morning she and her 14 ducklings will be swimming in your pool! Unless you intend to feed them for the next three months (and give up having clear, blue water in your pool!) you need to remove them ASAP. The filtration system must be deactivated immediately, and a ramp to allow the ducklings to exit the water must be provided. There is no food in most pools (!) and the babies will starve in short order. The mother has to be included in the removal and thus the whole family unit can be transferred to an appropriate lake or pond to live natural lives.

It’s MUCH easier to intervene before all this happens. Simply check under and around your landscaping in the months from January to June (yes, we have a long breeding season in Arizona!) If you see a duck in your pool, or find an active nest, call either Liberty Wildlife (480-998-5550), East Valley Wildlife (480-814-9339), or WildWing (480-893-6660). They can tell you how to handle the situation easily and cheaply. If need be, they can arrange to have a volunteer remove the nest.

Ducklings are extremely cute, but trust us, you DON’T want to have a duck family living in your pool!

What if I find an injured or sick mammal?

You should be very careful in dealing with mammals. Many Arizona mammals may carry rabies, including raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and bats. Javelinas can be very dangerous. Rabbits are generally fine to pick up, but if it is a baby, please make sure that the parents aren’t still taking care of it. Rabbits generally only visit their nests at daybreak and sundown. If you do choose to pick up an injured mammal, wear gloves to prevent the transfer of disease.

Keep the animal in a warm, quiet box or container away from people and pets. If the baby does not have fur, place it in a container on a towel covering a heating pad set on low. It is imperative to get the mammal to qualified individuals who can provide the proper care.

What if I find an injured reptile?

Snakes and lizards are treated at Liberty Wildlife. If you find one that is injured, call Liberty Wildlife immediately (480) 998-5550.

What if I find an injured amphibian like a frog or toad?

Frogs and toads are treated at Liberty Wildlife. If the frog or toad is injured, call Liberty Wildlife immediately (480) 998-5550