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Injured wild birds and the law

Juvenile sparrowhawk knocked out by window impact

Before taking and keeping an injured bird, check to see if it is listed in Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act

Image: Kim Martin, Boardwalk Framing

It is legal to take in and keep most injured wild birds for the purpose of looking after them and releasing them as soon as they are fit. 

Injured birds of prey should be given to an experienced bird of prey keeper or raptor rehabilitator to look after. Please contact Raptor Rescue, RSPCA/SSPCA/USPCA or a vet for advice on the best course of action. As a conservation group with no welfare expertise or facilities, the RSPB cannot help with an injured animal of any kind.

Some birds of prey, such as peregrines and goshawks, have to be registered before they can be legally kept in captivity. For further information on licensing requirements, please follow the links to the Defra, Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland Department of Environment websites.