Drooping/Dragging or Unsymmetrical Wings
Birds with broken wings usually have an obvious injury. One wing will droop much lower
than the other. When looking at the bird, the wings are NOT symmetrical. Many times
the wing will actually be dragging or twisted.
Ask yourself where was the bird found?
This can help determine if it is truly a broken wing. Birds found in or close to the street,
next to buildings and windows or attacked by a pet are highly suspect for this type of
injury. There may or may not be obvious bleeding. It probably will not be able to fly but
may be able to flutter and run if a wing is broken.
Many people mistake fledgling birds for those with broken wings. If the bird is hopping
about and other birds are feeding it, it is a fledgling bird. Leave it alone. Fledgling birds
will "beg or gape with an open mouth" for food and cannot yet fly.
Head injuries may keep the bird from flying also. Birds with broken wings need
assistance as soon as possible. Bird bones begin to calcify quickly after an injury.
If a bird’s bone heals incorrectly, it will be unable to fly. This bird needs to be captured
and transported to a Wildlife Rehabilitator for help.
Call a Wildlife Rehabilitator for help and instructions as soon as possible.
Found A Bird That Struck An Object/Window
Many times birds hit windows because they do not see them. This often causes head injury, broken wings and death. Birds of Prey like the Cooper’s Hawk will fly straight into picture windows in their attempts to snag an easy meal of songbirds at a nearby bird feeder.
Birds that have head injuries are sometimes mistaken for birds with broken wings because they are dazed and will not fly when approached. Birds that cannot fly due to head trauma, it will have to be brought in. Treatment with anti-inflammatory medicine will alleviate brain swelling and other potentialy lethal effects of head trauma. If the bird is bleeding from the beak or its pupils are dilated or it has an obvious injury it will, of course, need assistance as well. Call a Wildlife Rehabilitator for specific advice and instructions as soon as possible.
Hopping around on ground? It could be a fledgling. Baby birds that are found on the ground, are already feathered, and are able to hop, but are not yet ready to fly, are called "fledglings". These young birds are sometimes mistaken for a bird with a broken wing. A bird with a broken wing will hold the injured wing lower than the good wing. Most broken wings will droop very low. Fledglings can be as large as the parents (sometimes appearing even larger), and are fully feathered. Fledglings are able to hop, but not yet fly. These birds should NOT be put back into the nest. They should be put back where they were found or close to it so their parents can continue to feed them. This is a very important time for the young birds to learn by observing their parents. This learning stage is probably the most dangerous time of a bird's life, but is a very natural step. They will learn about finding food, avoiding predators, and how to fly. Many people who mean well, take these young birds in by mistake. If you want to help, keep people and pets out of the area. It will take about 5-15 days before the baby can actually fly well.
Cat Attacked the Bird Any bird that has been caught or attacked by a cat must be brought to a Wildlife Rehabilitator. Cats have bacteria (germs) in their mouths that will cause a bird to die, usually within 3 days, if left untreated.