How To Catch A Wild Bird ( The Easy Way!)

Wild birds are in high abundance all over the world. Aside from waking you up in the morning by singing and chirping, birds also play a massive part in ‘the circle of life’. They have great vision which allows them to spot any insects, rodents or other pests in your backyard. 

After they have found something, they can swoop down and attack it, often using it as a food source. However, it’s a fact that some wild birds can be very annoying and, if regular visitors to your backyard, you may have to deal with them appropriately by contacting local wildlife authorities.

It’s tempting to think the easiest way to control your backyard’s bird population is to catch them, but be aware it is both dangerous, and inhumane. It is important to know that, in many areas and countries, it is also against the law to trap any wild birds unless specific circumstances have been met. Before going on to catch any birds, you should check the laws in your area and make sure you are acting legally.

catching injured wild bird

The first method discussed will be what you should do in order to catch a wild bird that has been injured in some way. Before you do anything, you need to make sure the bird is actually injured. Often, if a bird flies into something, it can be temporarily stunned.

If you see this happen, wait a short space of time before assisting as the bird may fly off after a small dizzy moment. One obvious sign that a bird is injured is the way its wings look. If the wings look bent or incorrectly aligned, it’s very possible that its wings have been sprained or worse, broken.

If the bird’s wings don’t look like they should or if the bird doesn’t fly away after hitting an object, you can presume it is safe to proceed to try to help it.

Next, if the bird is a baby, you should look around the area to see if the baby birds parents are close by. This is because, unlike humans, baby birds often go out alone and practice their flying and scavenging.

If a wild bird is only young, there is a large possibility that not all its feathers have grown yet meaning, when trying to fly, it may fall to the ground. If the bird is only a baby, it is likely that its parents are still watching over it from another area.

If there are, do not interfere with the baby bird as it will be alright. Although to help, you can always stay on the lookout for any potential predators and protect the baby bird from them.

Wild birds catching methods

The safest option to go for if the bird is an abandoned baby or injured is to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. People with this job are professionally trained and, once you have explained the situation and condition of the bird in question, they will be able to advise you on the best next steps to follow to ensure the bird is kept safe.

They will also be better educated meaning they will be able to tell you whether to help or the bird or just to leave it be. In addition, you will want to contact a wildlife rehabilitator if you have successfully captured a bird as they will be able to contact it and take it to the vet or any other place it may need to go.

Before touching the bird, be sure to put on a pair of gloves to protect yourself. Wild birds, like most wild animals, are very dirty and carry diseases which can be easily passed on.

Wild birds can also carry parasites which, again, can be transferred to humans. Putting on gloves will help protect you from disease and parasites but also will minimise the risk of any potential injury if the bird begins to peck at your hand. When you are done with the gloves, be sure to wash them as well as your hands to stop the spread of any disease or parasites.

After you put on your gloves, you will want to find a small piece of soft fabric. This could range from a pillowcase to a tea towel, perhaps even an item of clothing. When you have this, slowly begin to approach the bird from behind quietly. Doing this decreases the chance the bird will see you and try to escape which could increase its injury.

When you are at an appropriate distance to the bird, use the piece of fabric you collected and carefully cover the bird with it and pick it up. If the bird in your backyard is small, use 1 hand to pick it up whereas if the bird is larger, you should use both your hands.

Stay away from the bird’s neck as putting pressure on it could further injure it or even kill it. Instead of this, gently and slowly warp your fingers around its body. Ensure there is enough space between your fingers so that the bird can poke its head through.

It may be possible that during this action the bird will get startled or scared and leave. If this is the case, don’t try to go after it as this may cause more distress or injury for the bird.

After you put on your gloves, you will want to find a small piece of soft fabric. This could range from a pillowcase to a tea towel, perhaps even an item of clothing. When you have this, slowly begin to approach the bird from behind quietly. Doing this decreases the chance the bird will see you and try to escape which could increase its injury.

When you are at an appropriate distance to the bird, use the piece of fabric you collected and carefully cover the bird with it and pick it up. If the bird in your backyard is small, use 1 hand to pick it up whereas if the bird is larger, you should use both your hands.

Stay away from the bird’s neck as putting pressure on it could further injure it or even kill it. Instead of this, gently and slowly warp your fingers around its body. Ensure there is enough space between your fingers so that the bird can poke its head through.

It may be possible that during this action the bird will get startled or scared and leave. If this is the case, don’t try to go after it as this may cause more distress or injury for the bird.

When you have safely captured the wild bird, you should then put it somewhere safe. The best place is a cardboard box or some kind of container. It is important that your chosen container has plenty of air holes so the bird can still breathe.

Before putting the bird into its safe place, make sure there is some soft fabric at the bottom of it to keep the bird safe and provide some warmth. As you don’t know how long the bird will be there, you want to make sure it is as comfortable as possible.

The wild bird should calm down after some time as the darkness from the closed container will decrease the level of anxiety.

As previously mentioned, your final step is to contact a wildlife rehabilitator once again. Being trained, they are best suited to helping the bird and giving the best possible medical care.

If you are unable to get in touch with a rehabilitator, make sure you give the bird some water and seeds to eat. Luckily, if the bird has more minor injuries, it should leave on its own after a short space of time.

However, if the bird’s injuries are more serious, you should continue to try and contact the wildlife rehabilitator.

If you fancy catching a wild bird just to rehabilitate and release into the wild, you could always have a go at the bucket and cage method. It may be considered as old fashioned however or is still very effective.

Creating this trap will be a considerable amount of work, probably taking you a good few hours to construct. Also, it would help if you had some existing knowledge about construction as you want to ensure the trap is safe. For example, if you construct a hard and solid trap, the bird could injure itself by trying to escape and hitting off of the sides.

To create a bucket and cage trap, you will require a few materials such as some mesh wire, a plastic bucket with a cover or lid, some plastic straw rope, a plastic water bottle, some birdseed, a knife, some styrofoam and some wooden planks.

The first step in creating, which is considered the most difficult, is the construction of the wire cage. To do this, you will need the mesh wire and wooden planks and perhaps it may be useful to have a drill and some screws to help you. 

Firstly, you want to make sure the wooden planks equal in size and length. When you’re sure of this, proceed to make a frame out of them by placing them into a rectangular shape. Take our drill and screws and create your first rectangle – this will be the base of your cage.

Then, you want to take another 4 wooden planks and screw them in vertically to each corner of your base. From here, warp the mesh wire around the planks to create a box with an open top. When your box is complete, place the styrofoam on top so it acts as a lid.

When your styrofoam is in place, you will want to use a knife to cut a hole in it which is larger for your bucket to fit in.

The best bucket to use for this trap is empty paint buckets. Take your bucket and, using a heated knife, cut some small rectangles into the side of it – make sure the bottom and top remain untouched. When the bucket has cooled, tie the rope around the handle which will make it easier to lift in and out of the trap.

Before you are ready to put your trap into place, you need to construct a wooden lever. This will be used as a scale. To make the lever, all you need to do is form a cross and then drill a hole into 2 long and thin pieces of wood and insert a wooden dowel.

Using your plastic straw rope, tie the lever to the bucket and place it near the hole in the styrofoam. On the other end of the lever, attach the plastic water bottle which should be filled with enough water so it sits evenly with the plastic bucket. The lever can now be sat next to the cage and bucket on top, When a bird lands in it, the bucket will fall into the cage.

Now that your trap is complete, you will need to set it. First, add some birdseed to the bottom of the bucket as this will be used to tempt the birds inside of it. When they are tempted and enter the bucket, it will fall into the cage. From here, the bird will fly through the cut-out rectangles which will cause the bucket to rise again leaving the bird trapped in the cage. This trap is reusable and also a humane way to trap wild birds.

To conclude, you should only catch a wild bird if its injured and/or with the sole intention of rehabilitating them into the wild after nurturing it back to health after an injury. From the two methods discussed above, you will see how much planning and carefulness this can take but, both methods are also effective nonetheless.

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