How to Help a Bird With a Broken Wing

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If you see a bird who is struggling to fly, he might have a broken wing. However, there are other reasons a bird may not take flight, such as illness, or he might still be learning how to fly. There are a couple of steps you should take before trying to repair the wing, and it starts with knowing what it looks like when a bird needs help.

First, know the signs of a bird with a broken wing.
Image Credit: Dmitry Potashkin/iStock/GettyImages

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Signs of a bird with a broken wing

It's common for birds to be in a state of shock when they're injured and need help. A bird in shock may appear puffed up, weak, and unresponsive, with slow breathing and closed or squinted eyes with a crust on them. She may not be moving at all. A bird could be in shock for anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on the severity of the injury. If a bird tries to fly but can't, that's a sign that the bird needs help.

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Give your attention to the most urgent issues first. If the bird has a cut, the first thing to do is to stop the bleeding. Take a cloth and apply pressure to the wound for five minutes. Be gentle and make sure you're not making it difficult for the bird to breathe. Don't remove any blood clots, as doing so will cause more bleeding.

Treat the bird for shock

Before treating a bird for shock, always put on gloves. It's important to protect yourself from the various diseases birds can carry and to protect yourself from getting pecked when birds try to protect themselves.

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With your gloved hand, move the bird to a dim, quiet, and humid location, preferably set at 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Warmth is especially important when treating a bird for shock. Fill a hot water bottle with warm tap water, wrap it in a towel, and put it near the bird. Don't try to make the bird eat or drink. Allow some space and time to recover.

Check the bird for injuries

Not every bird that's struggling to fly is injured. Sometimes, baby birds who are learning to fly end up disoriented on the ground. Before you try to treat a bird for injuries, do a physical examination to figure out whether there are injuries that need treatment. A broken wing is usually in an awkward position, and the bird will probably be unable to move it. If the wing appears to be in the right position, there may be another reason for the lack of flight.

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Wrap the bird's broken wing

If you've confirmed that the wing is broken, wrapping the wing can help protect it and make the bird feel safe. If you can, use a soft, thick towel that can provide some comfort and support. It should protect the wing from things that might worsen the injury. Placing the bird in a container with a lid, such as a shoebox, can help minimize stress. Keep the container in one spot to protect the injured wing. The hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can help keep the bird warm while inside the container. Try to avoid direct contact between the bird and the bottle.

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