Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

How to Help a Sick or Injured Raptor

  • Please note that all wild birds, including raptors, are protected under state and federal laws, it is illegal to harm, harass or possess any wild bird. You are allowed to rescue a wild bird but you must get it to a permitted facility as soon as possible. The quicker the bird is in qualified care the better its chances are for release.
  • Raptors can be very dangerous, even sick, injured and/or young birds. They have very sharp talons and beaks! BE CAREFUL!
  • Please note the location where the bird was found, this information will be necessary in order to return the bird to its home once it has recovered
  • For baby raptors, please note the exact location it was found, mark the spot if possible. Look up into the trees to see if the nest and/or adults are there. Every attempt should be made to reunite families.
  • Get a box that is slightly larger than the bird. Poke lots of air holes into the sides. Place the box over the bird. Carefully slide something flat under the box in order to contain the bird.
  • If you do not have a box, throw a towel or blanket over the bird. BEWARE of their talons and beaks!
  • Do not attempt to give the bird food or water. Transport it to a wildlife rehabilitator right away in a dark, warm (room temperature) container with breathing holes in it.

How to Locate a Wildlife Rehabilitator

  • If you are located in the Central Florida area, contact Audubon Center for Birds of Prey at 407/644-0190
  • Contact your state or country’s fish and wildlife agency (check the phone book), who will have a list of permitted wildlife rehabilitators.
  • Local veterinarian offices or local (domestic) animal shelters may have these contacts as well.
  • Visit

How you can help, right now