Frequently asked questions
Found an injured bird?
NFS does not run bird hospitals or rescue services. However, we are in the process of compiling a directory of such rescue centres across the country, for easy access and contact details to rescuers. If you know of any organization running a rescue centre for birds or animals, please send in your information to us so that we can add it to our directory.
I have an injured bird in my garden, what should I do?
For most injured birds, place them gently in a box and keep them in a quiet, dark and cool place. It may be that the bird is in shock and will soon recover so you can let it go. If it is more seriously injured, this will reduce stress on the bird until you can get advice on how you can help it.
NFS is a conservation organisation and does not have in-house expertise to run bird hospitals or rescue services or to treat sick or injured birds. We are in the process of preparing a detailed directory of rescue centres across the country, however, compiling a database may take a few months. Till then, you could contact your local vet or a local animal rescue centre which has the expertise to help and advise you on sick/injured birds and animals.
What should I do with a baby bird that has been abandoned by its parents?
Probably nothing. A young bird alone on the ground has not necessarily been abandoned. The young of many birds will fledge after they grow feathers, but before they are able to fly.
They spend a day or two on the ground before their feather development is complete. It is really best not to interfere. The parents will be close by and come to feed the bird as soon as it is safe.
If the bird is in a vulnerable position it will do no harm to move it into a safe place but not too far away as the parents will then be unable to find it. Touching a bird will not make the parents abandon it.
Watch carefully - if the parents don't return and the youngster has definitely been abandoned then please contact your nearest animal vet or rescue centre.
Why do some birds in my garden have growths on their feet?
Birds that have growths on their legs are usually suffering from a disease. Avian pox can cause deformed feet in house sparrows, mynas, doves and pigeons. Bumblefoot, which affects large birds, is caused when cuts become infected and often makes it difficult for birds to perch or walk.
Should I feed a baby bird bread and milk?
No. These are not suitable foods for young birds most of which will be fed on soft insects, worms and grubs in their early days. Scrambled egg, with a little moist cereal, is fine to beginwith and is more suitable food, for both seed and insect eating birds.
If I touch a baby bird will the parents abandon it?
No, birds have little or no sense of smell, but do keep contact to a minimum. It is often easier to pick a bird up by gently covering it with a cloth first.
My cat keeps catching wild birds - what can I do to stop this happening?
Give your cat a collar fitted with a bell. This will reduce the number of birds it catches. Keeping your cat indoors at dusk and dawn, when birds are most vulnerable, will also help.
If you keep your cat well-fed, they are less likely to hunt and are more likely to stay close to home, which may curb their hunting instincts.
How can I stop birds flying into my windows?
You can fix something to the outside of your windows to stop birds from flying into them. Birds fly into windows because the reflections confuse them. Some see the reflection of trees and the sky and don't realise it is glass. By fixing something to the window you will reduce the reflection and birds are less likely to be confused.