What to Do If You Find an Injured Bird

During spring and fall migration, millions of birds migrate through New York City. Unfortunately many will not survive our city's maze of concrete and glass. NYC Audubon's Project Safe Flight estimates between 90,000-230,000 birds die each year in New York City as a result of colliding with windows. With your help, some window collision victims can survive. If you find an injured bird, please follow the steps below to help save them.   

Injured Northern Flicker. Photo: Christina G, NYC Audubon Injured Bird Transporter

Assess If the Bird Is Injured

If you see an adult bird on the sidewalk with their eyes closed and/or is barely moving that is not a pigeon, the bird most likely hit a window and is stunned. Collisions with windows can cause: loss of consciousness, broken wings or legs, bleeding, and/or other blunt trauma-related injuries.   

A paper bag secured with a binder clip is a great way to transport an injured bird. Photo: Calista McRae

Where to Place an Injured Bird

Paper bags and cloth tote bags are great for securing birds and easy to bring along with you. Binder clips can also be used to keep the bags close. A box with a lid or towel placed over it can also be used but is less portable to bring with you.   

Volunteer Cynthia Guile encountered this stunned Ovenbird while patrolling her regular Project Safe Flight monitoring route during spring migration. Photo: Sophie Butcher

How to Secure an Injured Bird

Approach the bird slowly and quietly from behind, pointed away from traffic, so as to not scare it. Birds are easily frightened and can end up trying to fly away, often into a structure and further injuring itself. Lightly grab the bird with one or two hands over its wings and put the bird gently into a paper a bag or box.   

Injured bird secured in paper bag is brought to the Wild Bird Fund. Photo: Calista McRae

Where to Bring an Injured Bird

Once the bird is contained, place the bag in a dark, quiet place and bring it to the Wild Bird Fund as soon as possible. Do not try to force feed or give water to the bird. The Wild Bird Fund is located at:

565 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 11024 (Google Map).

The Wild Bird Fund is open seven days a week. There is no need to call before dropping off a bird between their office hours of 10am-6pm. You can call them at (646) 306-2862 outside of those hours and leave a voicemail if needed. The Wild Bird Fund is the only wild bird rehabilitation center in New York City and provides by far the best chance for the bird to survive. If you absolutely cannot get to the Wild Bird Fund, certain Animal Hospitals located in other parts of the city may be able to take in the bird.   

American Woodcock at the Wild Bird Fund © Tristan Higginbotham

If You Can't Transport an Injured Bird to a Rehabber Yourself

If you have a bird that is contained but are unable to transport the bird to the Wild Bird Fund or an Animal Hospital, call NYC Audubon at (212) 691-7483 and leave a message. Due to the New York State ON PAUSE order, volunteer transport services are extremely limited, but we will try to do our best to connect you to someone who can help. If you're safely able to bring the bird yourself, that will ensure it makes the journey to the clinic and has the best chance of survival. Thank you for helping wild birds in New York City!