If you need help rescuing a injured bird, these are your
For Hillsborough County: Nancy Murrah 813-205-1851
For Pasco / Pinellas County: Barb Walker 727-798-2385
For Polk County: Reinier Munguia 863-797-7374
If you find a injured bird, they should be taken to the
closest vet that you can get to. If possible, it's best to
call and notify the clinic that you're on the way. Please
note that ALL wild birds are protected under state and
federal laws; it is illegal to harm, harass or possess any
wild bird. You are allowed to rescue a wild bird and transport it to receive veterinary care, but you must get it to a permitted facility as soon as possible. The quicker the bird is in qualified care, the better its chances are for survival and release.
There is no charge by any of the clinics listed below to treat injured wild birds of prey. They do, however, appreciate donations! All but the first one (Care) have emergency after-hours.
For raptors (birds of prey), you can also call the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
in Maitland, FL at 407-644-0190.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I safely rescue a sick, injured or baby bird of prey?
WARNING: Raptors can be very dangerous, even when sick, injured and/or very young. They have very sharp talons and beaks! BE CAREFUL!
For babies, look up into the trees. Is the nest and/or adults there? If so, leave the baby there and back away and watch from a safe distance. Every attempt should be made to reunite families. If the others don't make attempts to recover the baby, take it to a wildlife rehabilitator.
- Record the location where the bird was found; this information will be necessary to return the bird to its home once it has been rehabilitated.
Get a box that is slightly larger than the bird (boxes are better than crates so their flight feathers don't get caught and broken). Poke lots of air holes into the sides. Place the box upside-down over the bird. Carefully slide something flat under the box in order to contain the bird. If you can do so without further injuring the bird, gently and slowly roll the box over and secure the lid.
- If you do not have a box, lightly throw a heavy towel or blanket over the bird and scoop it up by enfolding the wings. BEWARE of their sharp talons and beaks! Wear gloves or long sleeves if you have them.
DO NOT try to give the bird food or water, it could aspirate the liquid and get sick or die.
Transport it to a wildlife rehabilitator right away. Keep it as dark, quiet, and slightly warm (room temperature) as possible during transport.
What should I do? I found:
A baby bird on the ground
Step away from it. Be far enough away to allow the parents to return and feed it. Don’t assume that it is abandoned. The parents may only be hunting for food and will soon return to lead it to safety.
A displaced nestling with very few feathers, not hopping or flapping its wings
Look for a nearby nest in a tree or a shrub. Return the bird to its nest. Do not believe the myth that touching it will leave a human scent that will cause the parents to reject it.
A fledgling with feathers that is strong enough to hop around and try to fly
Leave it alone unless directly threatened by cats or other predators. Be far enough away to allow the parents to return and feed it. Do not return it to the nest. It will simply hop out again. It’s ready to see the world, now!
A nest that has fallen from the tree
Try to return it, as close as possible to its original location. Don’t worry that handling the nest will cause the parents to abandon it.
A nest that has been damaged or destroyed
Make a new nest out of soft moss and grass using a container with good drainage but waterproof. Put it near the tree, put the bird in the new nest, and watch it carefully from a distance. Don’t give up hope! The parents of baby birds and mammals do not give up easily, but will seek to recover their young and resume their parental duties.
If you are convinced your “baby” is an orphan after observing it for several hours, please know that raising a wild animal is a demanding, full-time job for humans! It's hard to do it well, and it's a disservice to the baby if you don't. Because of its high metabolic rate and voracious hunger, it must be fed every 15-20 minutes during its waking hours to prevent brain damage. Its parents are well equipped to do a great job; we are not. Not to mention, most animals require you to have a permit to keep it in captivity, even to rehabilitate it. Wildlife Rehabilitators have legal permits, tons of experience, and a very high success rate.
What do I do if I find a bird covered in oil?
Contact an experienced wildlife rehabilitator. Washing and handling birds and other wildlife affected by oil spills is a task that must be handled by trained professionals, NOT volunteers. Do not attempt to wash the bird yourself. Wrap it in absorbent cloth and get it to a trained professional immediately.