When to Intervene

Reminder: Do not feed or give water to an animal that may need medical attention.

Adults:

  • There are obvious wounds or blood on its body
  • Wandering on the ground looking weak and lethargic
  • One or more of its wings, legs, or head look like they’re pointing in the wrong direction
  • There is string, oil, glue, or some other substance on its body
  • It is struggling to fly
  • Injured or inflamed eye
  • It has had contact with a cat – even with no obvious injuries, this is a medical emergency

To transport an adult, it is best to wear protective gloves. Place a towel over them and scoop them into a box with air holes. Keep them warm, dark, and quiet until they arrive at a rehab center.

Babies and Juveniles:

It is important to determine if the baby or juvenile is really in need or is going through a normal part of the maturing process.  If it is mostly feathered, there is a good chance it might not need intervention.

Babies:

  • Babies with little to no feathers who have fallen from the nest should be rescued if they have obvious injuries or their bodies are cold to the touch, and they are quiet and lethargic.
  • If it appears that they were grabbed by a predator, especially a cat, they need to be rescued and brought in immediately.
  • If a baby has fallen and the parents are in the vicinity, even if the nest is too high, you can still attempt to re-unite them. Tie and open box to a tree with something to nest in. Watch from a distance for 45 minutes or longer to ensure that the parents visit the box.  If after an hour, you do not hear or see the parents near the box, the bird will have to come in.

Juveniles:

  • Birds that are mostly feathered are ready to leave the nest or fledge (ready to fly).
  • Often fledgling crows jump from the nest a day or two early and continue to learn from the ground with their parents keeping a watchful eye. This tends to happen from May to July.
  • If you can see parents in the area, and there are no known cats or dogs nearby, it is safe to leave them alone and watch from a distance to see if the parents are tending to the fledgling. It is important to leave them alone with the parents if possible. Juvenile crows can spend a year or more learning from their parents.
  • If there is an immediate risk from a cat or backyard dog, the fledgling will have to be brought in.
  • If there are apparent injuries or the bird is quiet and lethargic, it will need to come in.

To transport a crow or raven baby, simply scoop them up with a towel and place them in a box with air holes.  Keep them warm, dark, and quiet until they arrive at a rehab center.