to the Rehabilitation of Barn Owls and Other Raptors
There is an owl on the ground!"
Transporting a Barn Owl
to Wildlife Rehabilitation
What to Do In
a Wildlife Emergency
wildlife rehabilitator in your area
Tips for Handling
by The Raptor Center at the
University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
- Always contact a professional. DO NOT attempt to
rehabilitate the bird on your own. Contact the Wildlife Rehabilitation Information
Directory and turn to their page How to Locate a Wildlife Rehabilitator
to find a center in your area. Other appropriate agencies
would be the United States Fish and Wildlife Service;
your state's Fish and Game, Natural Resources or Parks
Department; your local sheriff's office.
- NEVER feed an injured bird. The dietary needs of raptors
are more delicately balanced than many people realize.
Even the best imaginable steak will not provide the bird
with what it needs. Also, most injured birds are
suffering from dehydration, and attempting to feed or
water the bird may kill it, as it is probably not yet
able to digest solid food or even plain water. Often,
when an injured bird arrives at the Raptor Center, it is
given a special fluid therapy for several days before we
attempt to feed it.
- Handle the wild bird only if necessary. The less you
handle it, the more likely it will be to survive. If you
must handle or move a bird, be extremely careful. Wear
heavy gloves if possible. We recommend that you wrap the
injured bird in a blanket, towel, coat or other cloth for
protection. Gently fold the birds wings back against its
- The best way to transport a bird is in a cardboard box
with plenty of ventilation holes cut in it, particularly
near the base of the box. The box should be only slightly
larger than the bird, and ideally, the bird should be
carefully wrapped in a cloth for protection. The less
room the bird has to move around, the less likely it is
to cause injury to itself. The birds wings and feathers
are very vulnerable to damage if the bird panics and
begins to thrash about in a confined area. For this
reason, we recommend that you DO NOT use wire cages.
- Provide the bird with a calm. Quiet environment, but DO
NOT keep the bird any longer than is necessary to get it
to a veterinary professionally trained to treat birds of
prey. The bird should be kept warm, dark, quiet place.
Darkness has a calming effect on birds and quiet is
important because of the bird's extremely sensitive
hearing. Extra care should be taken to keep the bird away
from children and pets.