Found an injured bird of prey?
When you find an injured bird of prey, your quick action may save its life.
If you have wildlife issues, you can call Florida Fish and Wildlife at 888-404-3922 or 352-732-1225.
If you are in Central Florida, please call us at the Center at 407-461-1056. Please note that our staff is only on site from 9:30 - 1:30 Monday-Friday and 9:30-4:30 on Saturdays. If we do not answer, please leave a message and we will return it as soon as possible. Because we are a small organization, we do not have the staffing to go out for rescues. If you can get the bird to us, we will be happy to do whatever we can to make it well, and return it to the wild.
If you find a young bird of prey, or nestling, first look around for a nest, or parents. Often, young birds will spend some time on the ground while they're learning to fly. If the bird looks alert and healthy, and you can see their nest, please place them back in the nest area. This is the best thing for the bird, handling a bird does not cause a problem with the adults. No one can raise it better than its parents!
All injured birds of prey are dangerous, even young birds have sharp talons and beaks, which are dangerous to bare hands.
- If you can, use a pair of thick work gloves, and approach the bird slowly, and throw a blanket or towel over the bird.
- The bird may struggle at first, so give it a moment before you pick it up. Take care to fold the wings against the body and be cautious of the legs and talons.
- Place the bird in a cardboard box, or similar container with plenty of ventilation at the top. Keep the box in a room temperature, dark, quiet place away from children, pets, and loud noises. Cover the box with a towel or blanket.
- Do not disturb the bird once placed inside the box. This rescue will probably be the most stressful thing that has ever happened to the bird, and shock can do just as much damage as any injury.
- The bird may not be strong enough to digest solid food, so do not offer food or water to the bird. Even if it appears hungry, feeding could harm or even kill the bird.
- Remember, or mark the location where the bird was found. If at all possible, we will try to return the bird to its original location.
Injured raptors require specialized treatment and care. It is illegal to possess any migratory bird without state and federal permits. The best thing that you can do for an injured bird of prey is to get it to a rehabilitator as soon as possible. If you cannot get the bird to us, please contact a local rehabilitator in your area, or contact Florida Fish and Wildlife, who can put you in touch with someone in your area.