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Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey – Hawks, owls, falcons, eagles

The Living Desert accepts all native injured and orphaned birds of prey into our rehabilitation facility.
If you find an adult bird of prey that is injured, take it to a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.
For help identifying birds of prey, click here.

How to identify an injured bird of prey

  • Bleeding
  • Animal attack
  • Lethargic/not standing up/leaning
  • Exhibiting vertigo-like symptoms
  • A wing is being held lower than the
  • other (making this bird unable to fly)

If a baby bird of prey is injured in any way, bring them to an wildlife rehabilitator immediately

Contain the injured bird of prey
**Do NOT attempt to catch a bird of prey that seems dangerous or defensive. Their sharp beaks and talons can cause serious injuries. Call The Living Desert Animal Rehabilitation line at (760) 346-5694 ext. 2209 for instructions on containing a bird of prey that you do not feel safe catching. You may also call your local animal control to contain the bird.**

How to safely contain an injured bird of prey

  • Obtain a secure container with air holes
  • Wear the thickest gloves you can find
  • Use a thick towel and throw it over the bird
  • With another towel, protecting your hands, scoop the bird up
  • Keep the bird away from your face as you maneuver it into the container
  • Keep the bird in a quiet, dark, warm place
  • Transport the bird to an animal rehabilitator immediately

Food/Water
Do not offer birds of prey food or water. If you contain the bird after hours, place a small bowl of water into the container. Transport the bird to an animal rehabilitator immediately the following day.

If you find an orphaned bird of prey chick
Occasionally, you may run into a young bird of prey that appears to be abandoned. Most of these chicks, however, are not true orphans. You may not see the parent as they may be hiding in a nearby tree or bush. To them, you are a large predator and they will not approach the chick if you are near. If it is not a true orphan, it is in the chicks’ best interest to leave them alone or to change their environment to allow them the most success.

Test to see if the bird of prey chick is a true orphan
Hide as far away from the chick as possible (indoors, watching from a window is best) and watch for 45 minutes. Remember, to the parents you are a large predator and it is not safe for them to expose themselves to you. It is important to maintain a visual the entire time. Parents may fly in, feed the chick, and fly away very quickly. If you see the parents approach the chick during this time, this chick is not a true orphan. If it is not an orphan, leave the bird alone.

If you have tested to see if the baby bird of prey is a true orphan and the parents have not returned, take it to an animal rehabilitator immediately.

If a bird of prey chick is on the ground and the parents are taking care of it
Bird of prey chicks are not meant to be nested on the ground. If you find a bird of prey chick on the ground that is being looked after by an adult, it needs to be placed above the ground.

Burrowing owls are an exception. Click here for information about burrowing owls.

Follow these instructions to get the chick off the ground

  • Obtain a shoebox-sized box or basket to serve as a new nest.
  • Line this nest with natural debris (leaves, plants, dirt)
  • Wire or secure this new nest to a nearby tree or bush. Make sure there is coverage to shade the baby from the hot sun.
  • Put on the thickest gloves and grab a thick towel
  • Use the towel to pick up the chick
  • Check the chick’s underside to make sure no fecal matter is causing the bottom to be clogged– this can kill birds.  (You may clean the area using a warm wet cloth or paper towel.)
  • Place the chick in the new nest
  • Leave the chick so the parents can return

Bird identification:  http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/browse/35,14/

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