FAQS - Birds of Prey

I have found an adult bird of prey by the side of the road

Firslty, check that it isn’t gaurding a prey item. Often these birds will sit at the side of the road with their wings spread out over a recent kill to protect it from other birds of prey. If this is the case then leave the bird alone to enjoy it’s meal. If the birs is collapsed or lying on it’s side then there is a chance that it may have been hit by a car.  Carefully pick up the bird, being careful to avoid the talons.  The easiest and safest way to do this is by wrapping a towel around the body.  Then the bird and towel can be placed in a box or cat carrier.  Keep the bird in a dark and quiet place and bring it to The Wildlife Aid Foundation as soon as possible.

I have found an adult bird of prey on the ground near a window

The bird has probably flown into the glass and may be concussed.  Carefully pick up the bird, being careful to avoid the talons.  The easiest and safest way to do this is by wrapping a towel around the body.  Place it in a dark, ventilated box and keep it quiet for at least 1 hour.  After 1 hour check on the bird. If it seems to be improved try opening the box in your garden.  If the bird is not able to be released contact your local wildlife rescue as it may need treatment.

I have found an injured bird of prey in my garden

Carefully pick up the bird, being careful to avoid the talons.  The easiest and safest way to do this is by wrapping a towel around the body.  Then the bird and towel can be placed in a box or cat carrier.  Keep the bird in a dark and quiet place and bring it to your local wildlife rescue as soon as possible.

I have found a bird of prey caught in netting/barbed wire

Please try and gently wrap the bird in a small towel or cloth to keep it calm. Call your local wildlife rescue and they will send someone out to help. If you feel you are happy to try and release the bird yourself do take care to try and stay clear of the sharp talons and the beak. Once it is free carefully pick up the bird.  The easiest and safest way to do this is by wrapping a towel around the body.  Then the bird and towel can be placed in a box or cat carrier.  Keep the bird in a dark and quiet place and bring it to your local wildlife rescue as soon as possible.

I have found a bird of prey with a ring on its leg

If it is a wild bird with a BTO or Natural History Museum ring on it and the bird is uninjured then please register the sighting with the appropriate organisation.

If you think it is a domestic bird of prey, for example an escaped pet or display bird, please ring your local wildlife centre as they may come to rescue the bird. If it is injured and you are able to safely contain it then take it to your local wildlife rescue centre.

Note: if a dead bird has a BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) ring, please remove the ring and return it to the BTO for tracking.

I have found a young bird of prey on the ground

If possible, you should try lifting the bird up to as high a branch as you can reach and observe it from a distance.  Use thick gloves when you pick the bird up as they have very sharp talons. The best time to check on the bird is near dusk, when the parents should arrive to feed it.   If the parents do not visit it with food, please contact your local wildlife rescue, it is likely that the bird will need to come in to be fed.

If the bird is very wobbly and seems unwell, please keep it warm and quiet and bring it to your local wildlife rescue as soon as possible. Pick the bird up in a towel or with gloves as the talons and beak can cause injury and place it in a ventilated box or pet carrier.

Some useful telephone numbers:

I.B.R. (Independent Bird Register): 01748 830112
Raptor Rescue: 0870 241 0609
BTO: www.bto.org