Sick Or Injured Birds

Purple Martins are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, making it illegal to posess them unless you are a certified wildlife rehabilitator.

If you see a martin on the ground, look for the presence of blood on the feathers or if the wings are held in an unnatural position. These are indications of injury and the need for immediate attention.  If the bird is lethargic and cool to the touch on the legs and feet, it may be hypothermic or in shock.

If a nestling is found on the ground under the nest and seems healthy, lower the housing. Check your records to see which cavity they came from and return them.  If you do not know where the nestling came from, place the nestling in a cavity that contains 4 or fewer nestlings that are the same size.  Observe the nest and determine if the nestling is being tended to for an hour.  If it is not, it may be orphaned.

What to Do For an Injured, Sick, or Orphaned Purple Martin

      • Find a box a little larger than the bird. Poke holes in the sides and lid of the box for ventilation.
      • Place a clean T-shirt, pillowcase, or close-knit rag in the bottom of the box. Make a nest out of rags or a knit cap.
      • Capture the bird by taking a towel or towel-sized rag and putting it over the bird. This will help calm the bird because it cannot see you and it feels like a wing over it. Pick the bird up and put it in the box.
      • Cover the box with a lid and place it in a warm, quiet and safe place in your house.
      • Wash your hands
      • Contact your local wildlife rehabilitator or avian veterinarian, immediately. Use the directory below or contact your state wildlife agency to locate the closest wildlife rehabilitator.

 

Do not:

      • Handle the bird except to put it in the box. Stress and shock will kill the bird before the injury.
      • Give the bird water or food, unless you have been given instructions or trained under a wildlife rehabilitator.
      • Leave the bird in the heat of the sun, or cold of the winter.
      • Transport it in the trunk of a car or bed of an open truck.
      • Wait to call wildlife rehabilitator or avian veterinarian. Timeliness is very important to the survival of the Purple Martin.

 

Click on your state below to locate a certified wildlife rehabilitator specializing in songbirds near you

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