Make a home for wildlife
The RSPB does not run bird hospitals or a rescue service, and so we cannot help an oiled bird. The RSPCA (England and Wales), SSPCA (Scotland) and USPCA (Northern Ireland) are the national charities that help and advise on wildlife welfare matters. They have the specialist expertise and equipment for cleaning oiled birds, and are in the best position to help an oiled bird, whatever the source and nature of the oil on its plumage
For most injured birds, place them gently in a box and keep them quiet, dark and cool. 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.
The RSPB does not have bird hospitals or a rescue service because we are a conservation charity. The RSPCA, your local vet or a local animal rescue centre, have the expertise to help and advise you about sick and injured birds and animals.
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 shelter 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 the RSPCA, your local vet or a local animal rescue centre. They have the expertise to help and advise you about sick and injured birds and animals.
Birds that have growths on their legs are usually suffering from a disease. Avian pox can cause deformed feet in house sparrows, starlings and pigeons. Chaffinches can develop tumours caused by a viral infection.
Bumblefoot, which affects large birds, is caused when cuts become infected and often makes it difficult for birds to perch or walk.
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
begin with but more suitable food, for both seed and insect eating
birds, is available from pet shops.
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.
Not necessarily. There are many causes of birds dying, the most usual being an outbreak of an infectious disease, such as salmonella. If you clean your feeders and birdtables regularly you will help prevent infections from spreading.
If this problem persists, please contact our Wildlife Enquiries team for further advice.
Sadly, collared doves are one of the main sufferers of a disease
called trichomoniasis (canker). It affects the upper digestive
tract causing lesions in the birds’ throats making it difficult to
feed and eventually to breathe.
The infected bird may die of starvation or possibly choking. It
is not caused by anything that you have done.
However, you can help to prevent it from spreading. The best
course of action is to stop feeding for at least a month. Sweep up
and dispose of any left over food and, if possible disinfect all
In summer, natural food is plentiful so the birds will not
suffer. Your feeding area ought to be free of any infection
by the time the birds return, in search of food, at the onset of
In winter, place food in hanging feeders only. Sweep up any that
falls to the ground each day, to prevent the spread of disease.
Giving your cat a collar fitted with a bell or a sonar device will reduce the number of birds it catches. You can buy collars that are fitted with a quick release mechanism that is safer for your cat. 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.
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.
Plastic stickers work well - RSPB reserve shops sell stickers in the shape of bird silhouettes, which are ideal.
There is little evidence to suggest that fireworks harm wild
birds or affect their conservation status. However, the RSPB is
working closely with the RSPCA and the National Campaign for
Firework Safety to reduce the negative impacts of fireworks on
people and animals.
We particularly urge firework display organisers to avoid
locating near to sensitive wildlife areas, such as nature reserves
and roosting sites for wild birds.