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To prevent unnecessary 'rescues' (kidnappings) and to keep both wildlife and the community safe, here are some helpful tips and information regarding some specific species natural history .  We hope this will help you decide what to do if you see wildlife you think needs our help!


Is the bird hurt or sick (unable to flutter wings; bleeding, wings drooping unevenly; weak or shivering; attacked by cat/dog?


(SOUTH ALABAMA - BBWS 334-447-8110/8111)


NESTLING BIRDS (naked or partially feathered)

If the baby bird is alert and opening its mouth for food, you can put it back in the nest. If it is not gaping or is cold, it may need special attention. If a bird is injured, it needs help and cannot be placed back in the nest. Birds that are cat caught are assumed to be injured although they may not appear to be. If a bird is featherless, it needs heat. Since some baby birds need to eat every 30 min’s, it is important to contact a rehabilitator as soon as possible for instructions if it cannot be put back in the nest or the mother is gone.


  • If it is Intact place the baby bird back into the nest. Observe from a distance to make sure parents are visiting the nest and feeding babies.  If parents are feeding leave the area and the baby will be ok.
  • If it is Not Intact, make a substitute nest.  Poke holes in bottom of berry basket/margarine tub; line with dry grass, the old nest, or pine needles; hang from original or nearby tree.  Put baby in nest and observe for parents to make sure the babies are being fed and they will be ok.

FLEDGLINGS (Feathered Birds)

Baby birds are often seen fully feathered but trying to fly with the parents nearby. These are fledglings. If they are active and alert, it is best to leave them alone. If possible, keep cats and dogs away from the area for a few days, in which time the birds will learn to fly. The parents will continue to care for them even though they are on the ground. If the mother sees you in the yard she will not come near.

  • If it's a Fledgling, it is normal behavior to be hopping on ground; parents are still feeding it.  Just make sure it is safe from cats, dogs and people?
  • If it is Safe, leave the area and baby will be ok.
  • If it is Not Safe, put the bird in the bushes or on a tree limb nearby.  Watch from a distance and watch to see if parents are nearby?


  • If you know the mother is dead, or if baby is injured, call a wildlife rehabilitator right away.
  • If baby is separated from the mother and you know where she is, place baby close by so she can hear it. Watch from a distance.
  • If mother is not found or does not claim the baby within an hour then you need to rescue the baby.
  • THEN CALL A WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR. If unable to reach a wildlife rehabilitator, call your state wildlife agency or a wildlife Veterinarian.



    Watch out for the dangerous parts of wildlife like teeth, claws, talons, beaks, etc. and the unbelievable strength of a frightened wild animal.  When trying to rescue an animal the most important thing you can think about is your own safety before and during capture or rescue.  Those raptor talons are incredibly sharp as are their beaks.  They use them to rip and tear meat, as well as take down prey.  Hooves and claws are very dangerous too.  The hoof of a baby deer can rip open your skin like a knife.  And don't forget the bacteria that lie in wait of their teeth, claws, beaks and talons, etc.  Oh and those beautiful birds with long slender beaks can go through your eye in an instant.  It is more important to worry about first grabbing the beak than it is the wings of herons, egrets and other shore birds that spear fish their dinner with great precision.  You do have to watch out for the slaps you can get with a birds wings too.  If a baby bobcat or fox kit want to bite you, they can puncture our thin skin before you know it. Just imagine what an adult would do.  A net, large blanket, coat or heavy towel can often be all you need to rescue an animal by throwing it over their head and grabbing whatever else they can hurt you with, with thick gloved hands.  Bottom line is the animal you are considering rescuing will be scared and feeling cornered.  They are going to fight any way they can and with whatever it takes to get away from their captors.  Many animals commonly have parasites (fleas, lice, ticks) and carry diseases.  PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO BE SAFE!

    Once you have caught the animal, place the animal in a secure cardboard box with small holes placed in the side or lid; or possibly in a travel carrier for dogs and cats. The container should be just big enough for the animal to stand and turn around, to prevent the animal from thrashing around and hurting itself. Place paper towels or a soft cloth on the bottom of the box so the animal has traction. Keep the box in a warm, quiet, dark place, away from family pets and children. Many times injured or ill wild animals are in shock or at the very least scared.

    If the animal is injured, cold, or featherless/hairless, put a heating pad on ”LOW" under half of the box.  This allows the animal to move away from the heat if needed.

    Try to get an animal help as soon as possible. Call a wildlife rehabilitator. Some birds need to eat every 30 min. ** If you can get an animal help within 2 hours the chance of survival increases greatly!

    DON'T keep peeking or handling the animal. The more you look at or handle it, the more you stress the animal and reduce its chance of survival.

    DON'T give any animal anything to eat or drink without discussing with wildlife rehabilitator first!  Cow’s milk is a big NO-NO!  Baby birds can't digest milk or milk products. Many baby mammals are lactose intolerant and may develop fatal diarrhea.

    Together we can make a difference in the future of our native wildlife.

    On behalf of the BBWS volunteer staff, we want to thank you for caring and sharing your love of wildlife with us.


    Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary Inc.

    1034 County Rd 445

    Enterprise, AL 36330




    It's against the law in most states

    to keep wild animals if you don't have permits,

    even if you plan to release them.

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