Found a bird?
Please click here for information about what to do next from Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre.
If Salthaven is not available or accessible, try Another Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation located in St. Thomas or see this list of licensed wildlife rehabilitation centres in Ontario.
For aerial insectivore birds including swifts and swallows, you may contact Swift Care Ontario
Suggestions for common bird conflicts:
Bird inside a chimney
Sometimes birds enter chimneys looking for a place to roost or nest. Once they are inside the chimney, they might become stuck. Here is advice for what to do if a bird becomes stuck in your chimney.
Avoid using your chimney until you are sure that birds have been evacuated.
Bird stuck inside a house or other building
There are several methods that may be useful for removing a bird from a building in different situations.
First, make sure to remove or block potential hazards for the bird such as open flames or anything very hot, open containers of water where the bird could drown, sharps, ceiling fans, etc.
If there is a supplemental food source inside the building, it will likely be more difficult to use bait to draw birds towards a trap or escape. If possible, remove food sources for the bird before attempting to capture and/or remove them.
The easiest way to catch a bird inside a room is to turn off all the lights. Most birds do not see well in the dark. With the lights off, birds will usually freeze in place, making it easier to recover them using a flashlight. Once in the dark, birds will fly towards light sources to escape. Try opening a single window or door as wide as possible to encourage the bird to fly out through it. You can motivate the bird to fly in the direction of the opening by holding up a large bed sheet with your arms extended to make a large, flat "wall" and walking towards the bird. You may also use this method to trap the bird inside a box or smaller space where it will be easier to catch.
If turning off the lights isn't a viable option, you may need to set bait to draw out the bird. Leaving bird seed near an open window or door may help the bird to find its way outside. If one is available, you may also set a repeating trap to capture and contain the bird so that you can transport it safely outside, but this process may take several days.
The list below contains links to companies in London that provide humane wildlife removal and exclusion services, who may be able to help with removing birds and/or preventing birds from re-entering the building:
Bird nesting in undesirable location
Note that many birds' nests are protected by law and cannot be disturbed while the nest is active (containing eggs or young). See here for more information. A nest that belongs to an endangered species of bird or to a larger bird that returns to the same nest year after year should not be disturbed. If you are unsure about the nest that you are considering removing, you should contact a wildlife official before taking action.
If the nest has been abandoned or if it is in an obvious state of deterioration, you should be allowed to remove it. If the nest is new but does not yet have eggs in it, and it is in a dangerous location, it should also be removed. The best time to remove a nest is before a bird lays eggs in it.
Dangerous locations where a birds may build its nest include:
Too close to a busy walkway or door
Inside dryer vents
Inside a gutter or drainage pipe
On equipment such as a vehicle, lawn mower, barbecue or air conditioning unit
Inside a chimney
If the nest is in a dangerous location, but eggs have already been laid, then try contacting a local bird rescue (see links at the top of this page) to ask if they will take the birds.
If you must move the nest just out of harm’s way, try to keep it as close as possible to the original location and without damaging it. When removing a nest yourself, wear gloves to protect you from bacteria and mites. If the nest is still active, it will also help to keep your scent off the nest.
To dispose of an abandoned nest, bury it in a compost pile to prevent possible spread of disease.
To discourage birds from building a nest in the same spot again, clean the area with nine parts water and one part chlorine bleach. You may install a deterrent such as spikes.
What to do for a bird that flew into a window
Try to capture and contain the bird immediately. Place the bird inside a container (e.g., unwaxed paper bag or cardboard box). If you are not able to contain and supervise the bird, you may move the bird to a sheltered outdoor space (e.g., under a shrub) to keep it safe from predators or being stepped on while it recovers.
Move the container with the bird to a dark, quiet, warm space. If the container is completely sealed, you may poke some holes for ventilation. Do not attempt to feed, water or pet the bird.
Contact your local wildlife rescue (see links at the top of this page) as soon as possible and arrange for the bird to be transported to their facility.
Birds are often in shock after colliding with a solid surface. If step 2 is not possible, allow the bird time to recover inside the container (1-2 hours). Later, try to release the bird near suitable habitat away from the window.
When birds collide with a window and survive, sometimes they sustain internal injuries that can take time to appear. This is why it is important, whenever possible, to contain birds that fly into windows and have their health checked before releasing them.
Bird caught by cat
Treat the bird for shock. Keep the bird contained in a safe, warm, quiet space. Do not attempt to give the bird food or water. Do not pet the bird - leave it alone.
All cats have bacteria in their mouths that can kill birds if not treated immediately with specialized antibiotics. Even if the bird doesn’t look injured, a small scratch or puncture can kill them as the bacteria spreads. Do not try to treat the bird yourself! Contact your local wildlife rescue (see links at the top of this page) immediately for advice.
Birds may show signs of internal injuries from a collision after they fly away.
Bird appears sick or injured
If you find a bird that appears sick or injured, we recommend contacting a wildlife rehabilitation centre immediately for advice (see links at the top of this page).
You may report diseased birds to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.
Most diseases that afflict birds in Canada cannot be transmitted to humans. However, we recommend handling birds with gloves if available and washing hands after handling.
If the sick bird you found was visiting your bird feeders, to prevent possible spread of contagious diseases, we recommend taking feeders down and sanitizing them with a bleach dilution.
Found a baby bird