Help! I Have a Sick Bird at my Bird Feeder

Posted by Nancy on 6/12/2018 to Learn More About Birds

Question:  I have a sparrow sitting near our bird feeder that is still and not eating.  Its feathers are puffed out like it is cold, but other birds are not indicating the weather is affecting them.  Is the bird sick?  What should I do?

Answer:  First, do not try to catch the bird.  With luck, it is a bird that has hit a window and just needs some time to recover.  If it is truly sick, don’t catch the bird until you find a rehabber that will take the bird.  Many rehabbers will not accept sick birds, they only take injured birds.  The rehabbers worry about communicable diseases.

If you believe the bird is sick immediately take down all of your feeders and clean them thoroughly.  Leave the feeders down for a week.  I realize that this will not help the sick bird, but it will stop the spread of any communicable disease.

I wish there is more you can do, but sick birds succumb to secondary problems like lice and mites and usually do not recover even with human intervention.  The best you can do is not spread disease at your feeding station. 

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