Any bird that is sick or injured will need
veterinary treatment. If a baby bird has fallen from a nest and is
uninjured the first option is to return it to the nest and observe
it for a period of time to ensure that the mother feeds it.
For comprehensive information on native birds
and to ensure the correct outcome for each situation, please read
the following information.
Baby Bird Information –
Click here for a detailed article on what
to do with baby birds. This article includes indepth information on
re-uniting baby birds with their parents and how to tell if a baby
bird needs our help.
Baby Bird Poster with instructions on how
to create a make-shift nest!
Download the RSPCA Brochure
“What YOU can do if you find a Young bird”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer
rehabilitator and caring for native birds, listed below is some
information that will assist you.
Basic Equipment for Fostering and Rescuing Birds
Assorted cardboard boxes
carrier or cages
with coloured bulbs (25 and 40 watts)
bird field guide for identification
Wombaroo First Aid for Birds®
Calcium powder (Balanced Cal®)
Indoor/outdoor digital thermometer with a probe
containers for food and water.
needles of various sizes for feeding and medicating
Assorted size branches for perches.
Scales for weighing of food and the birds.
The best way to transport a bird is in a cardboard box with air
holes for ventilation, with a clean towel on the bottom to stop the
bird from slipping around in the box. Once the bird is enclosed it
should settle down, minimizing feather damage that can occur in an
open wire cage or carry basket. It is preferable not to transport
birds after dark, but if it is unavoidable, then catch the bird and
put it in the box before it gets dark.
Always remember that you are picking up a wild creature.. Perform
and initial assessment and if possible identify the bird when you
get to the rescue site.
How active is the bird? Are there are any obvious injuries? Does
it need urgent medical attention?
Identifying the species at the rescue site
will enable you to handle the bird correctly, reducing the risk of
injury to both the bird and yourself in the process. With some birds
you only need to be aware of the beak (eg kookaburras and herons),
with others you have to be aware of the beak and claws (eg magpies,
If you’re not confident about picking up a
bird or are unsure of the species, use a towel to wrap around it,
making sure you enclose the head and feet, keep the feet well away
from your hands and arms and place it in the box.
Be extremely careful when handling water
birds, as they can lash out at your face quicker than you can react.
Grab hold of the beak before trying to pick them up.
Be aware that even baby birds are afraid of us so do not handle a
bird more than necessary. Keep your bird in a quiet place until you
can assess any injuries safely. Passing around a baby bird for
children or friends to see is unacceptable. These are not pets so do
not treat them as such.
Keep the bird isolated to avoid spreading
disease to other birds and never put your birds near or around
Contact your Species Coordinator as soon as
possible to get advice on your bird.
Natural Diets for Birds
Granivores: Quails, parrots, doves, pigeons and
Natural diet: Insects, fruits, berries, nuts off trees and shrubs,
grass seeds and grain
Nectivores: Lorikeets, friarbirds, honeyeaters and
Natural diet: Native flowers, nectar, pollen, insects, soft fruits
Carnivores: Kookaburras, magpies, tawny frogmouths,
Natural diet: Lizards, moths, mice, rats, cockroaches, crickets,
reptiles, frogs, small snakes, beetles and grasshoppers
Insectivores: Silvereyes, swallows, willy wagtails,
drongos and cuckoos
Natural diet: Insects, moths, flies, beetles, spiders, worms and
Frugivores: Figbirds, orioles, bowerbirds
Natural diet: Insects, native berries and fruits
Waders: Herons, plovers, ibis, swamphens, moorhens
Natural diet: Insects, small fish and reptiles (herons, plovers and
ibis) Insects, worms, plant matter and seeds (swamphens and
Natural diet; Grasses, seeds, insects and worms
Cages and Aviaries
A correct size cage is the most important factor to consider when
housing any bird.. If the cage is too small or restrictive this can
result in unnecessary stress and feather damage to your bird,
delaying release in most cases. Handraised birds or adults that have
been in care longer than a few days, will need to be placed into an
aviary for flight practice before release. If you do not have an
aviary, contact your Species Coordinator who will be able to help
you place the bird somewhere suitable..
General cleaning and maintenance such as
disinfecting cages, changing floors and replacing perches must be
carried out on a regular basis. Once the bird has been released the
cage must be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water and sprayed
with F10® or a similar disinfectant. Perches should be changed
regularly and if using sand or dirt on the aviary floor it will need
to be disposed of after each patient. All feeding equipment should
be soaked in F10® or similar for 30 minutes and cleaned thoroughly
after each use.
The position of your food dishes will depend
on which species of bird you are housing. Canopy feeding birds such
as lorikeets, currawongs, figbirds, cuckoo-shrikes and silvereyes
must never be fed on the ground while ground dwellers must never be
fed in the canopy. Ground dwellers include magpies, kookaburras, and
galahs. Make sure that fresh water is available for drinking and
bathing at all times.
An aviary is essential for any bird before
release or for when babies are beginning to fledge and wanting to
fly. If you are able to install an aviary on your property it is
important to make sure that you get the right size for the species
in your care,certain species require specific length and height
requirements. Some species must never be housed together, consult
your Species Coordinator if you are unsure of which size would suit
Important Points to Remember
Always maintain good hygiene habits. Clean out
all cages and perches daily. ,.
Always try to find out where your bird was
found as with the release of some species, this information is
Always make a note of any treatment and
medication that your bird receives at the vet, and follow the
Always remember that not all birds have a crop,
identify your bird before you start feeding it to work out how
often it should be fed.
Always use insectivore rearing mix as a
supplement only and only add it to meat (mince or ox heart) or
sparingly over food - never as a slurry.
Never give fluids (glucose and water) to birds
until its injuries have been assessed.
Never try to give oral fluids or food to a bird
with trauma injuries (concussion, internal injuries and shock)
or if the bird is vomiting or coughing.
Never open the bird’s beak from the tip, always
open it by putting fingers either side of the beak at the back
in front of the jaw and gently prize open.
Never feed milk to birds.
Never pour water down a bird’s beak.
Never feed a cold bird, always warm it up first
- both adults and babies.
Never release a bird unless others of its own
species are in the area (except for solitary species).
Never release a migratory bird out of season.
(Get to know arrival and departure dates of migratory birds)
Never keep wild and domestic birds, birds and
mammals and birds and reptiles together.
Never care for bird
species if you do not have the necessary time and/or equipment
required. Some baby bird species can require feeding every 15
minutes to 2 hourly.
A small exam about bird care