What to do if you find an injured bird
The Sutton Center is not a wildlife rehabilitation facility and does not take in injured birds, but we have provided some information here that may help you if you find an injured bird. Please be aware of the possibility of injury to yourself if trying to handle many species of birds such as hawks, owls, herons, egrets, or others. Sharp talons and stabbing beaks can be dangerous.
One of the most common situations involves finding a bird on the ground that is too young to fly. Sometimes this can be due to a storm, but often it is a natural circumstance. Most songbirds leave the nest before they are able to fly. They spend several days to a week on the ground or in low vegetation while their wing feathers and flight muscles develop. Even though the adult birds may not be evident nearby, they are still feeding the young birds, and it is best to leave them alone. If cats are present, the bird can be placed on a nearby branch to get it off of the ground. Cats (both pet and feral) take a terrible toll on birds and other wildlife and should be kept indoors at all times. If the bird is so young that its eyes are still closed and it has down instead of growing feathers, it may be placed back in its nest if it can be found. If not, see the next section below for contact information.
If you find an adult bird that is injured, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area. These individuals have the proper permits to provide care to injured birds. Wild birds are protected by federal law, and unlicensed individuals may not possess them for any reason. Licensed rehabilitators also have the training and knowledge to care for and properly feed wild birds. One of the best known facilities in Oklahoma is the WildCare Foundation in Noble. Check with your state wildlife agency or local game warden for contact information regarding licensed wildlife rehabilitators in your area. For more information, here is a list of Oklahoma game wardens by county.
Birds sometimes collide with windows, particularly during spring and fall migration. If the bird is not immediately killed by a collision, placing it in a dark environment such as an empty cardboard box at room temperature for 30 minutes often allows it to recover enough to be released. Numerous solutions are available to help prevent collisions with windows. At the Sutton Center we have used CollideEscape and Feather Friendly products with good success on our own windows.