Injured or Orphaned Birds

Injured Birds

Not all grounded birds are injured or lost. Please do not feed birds and scroll down for more information.

If you find an injured bird, carefully place it in a ventilated cardboard box with protective lid or a towel over the top, and place in a cool, safe place. Birds go into shock very easily when injured, and often die from the shock. If a bird has hit a window and is still alive, it may just need a little time to regain its senses, then it may be able to fly away. Do not try to force-feed or give water to the bird. If it is still alive after a few hours, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator.

Tropical Audubon Society recommends the following South Florida Wildlife Rehab Centers. Please note, you must call ahead before taking a bird to any of these donation-supported centers:

Greater Miami

Pelican Harbor Seabird Station
1279 NE 79th Street Causeway
Miami, 33138

South Dade

Everglades Outpost
35601 SW 192nd Avenue
Homestead, 33034
Wildlife Rescue of Dade County
12055 SW 240 Street
Princeton, FL 33032
In addition to injured birds, founder Lloyd Brown accepts injured mammals native to South Florida.

Broward County

South Florida Wildlife Center
3200 SW 4th Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33315

Florida Keys

Tavernier: Florida Keys Wild Bird Center
92080 Overseas Highway
Tavernier, 33070
Marathon: Marathon Wild Bird Rescue
MM 50 at Crane Point Hammock
Marathon, 33050
Big Pine Key: Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue
1388 Avenue B
Big Pine Key, 33043
Key West: Key West Wildlife Center
1801 White Street
Key West, 33040

Orphaned Birds

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

At some point or another, nearly everyone who spends time outdoors or who feeds backyard birds finds a baby bird, unable to fly very well and apparently lost or abandoned by its parents. Our first impulse is to adopt this apparently helpless creature and try to raise it ourselves. But in most cases, the young bird doesn't need our help at all, and, in fact, we may be doing more harm than good.

If you find an orphaned bird, the first step is to determine if it is really orphaned.

Examine the young bird for signs of physical trauma. If it's injured, take it to the nearest wildlife rehabilitator. (Place it in a small, secure ventilated box such as a paper towel-lined shoebox with a few holes poked in it.)

Nestling or Fledgling?

Most baby birds that people find are nearly always recent fledglings that cannot fly well. If the young bird appears uninjured, determine whether it is a nestling or a fledgling. Let it perch on your finger. Is it gripping firmly? If so, it is a fledgling. To get it out of harm's way, the best thing to do is to place the baby bird in a shrub or tree—somewhere above the ground—and leave it alone.

If the bird seems unable to cling well to your finger or to branches, it is most likely a nestling. Look around in nearby shrubbery or trees for the nest the bird came from. It will probably be well hidden. If you do find the nest, simply put the young bird back in it. If you can't find it, you can provide a substitute nest by tying a berry basket (the kind with holes in the bottom, for drainage) in a tree. Line it with some tissues or other soft material, put the baby bird inside, and leave it alone.

Should You Hand-raise a Baby Bird?

We strongly advise against doing this; we recommend you instead take the orphaned bird to [a reputable] wildlife rehabilitation center. Besides being difficult, raising a wild bird in captivity is illegal unless you have the proper state and federal licenses.”