How to Contact Us

Have You Found an Injured or Orphaned Bird of Prey?

We intake injured and orphaned birds of prey 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have a raptor in need of rescue, call Indiana Raptor Center at 812-988-8990 or another wildlife expert. In Indiana you can look for more local wildlife rehabilitators here [PDF link]. Please do not attempt to rehabilitate birds on your own. Sometimes the parents of an “orphan” are still around, or a bird in the act of hunting or eating may appear injured and is just fine: we will talk you through it!

How to Handle an Injured Bird

The Basics

Handle an injured raptor as little as possible. Stress resulting from human contact can reduce a bird’s chance of recovery.

If you must handle or move a bird, first cover the bird with a blanket or towel to reduce stress, and protect yourself by wearing heavy gloves and safety glasses. Then, gently fold the bird’s wings into its body with your two gloved hands. Gently but firmly lift the bird into a transport container. Remember: Even a seriously injured raptor is potentially dangerous. Wild birds do not understand that we are trying to help and will defend themselves. They are quite unpredictable, and you should be especially aware of their sharp beak and talons.


A baby owl eats a mouse

An owlet dines on a delicious mouse.

Never feed an injured raptor unless you have been instructed to do so by a licensed rehabilitator. The dietary needs of raptors are more delicately balanced than people realize. Most injured birds are suffering from dehydration, and attempting to feed them or give them water orally may worsen their condition. If a bird has not eaten for a while, its digestive system shuts down and it cannot handle any food. At InRC and other bird hospitals, these patients are given a special fluid therapy for a day or two to jump-start their systems before any type of food is provided.

Containment and Transportation

The best way to transport a raptor is in a plastic dog or cat kennel, or in a sturdy cardboard box with the top closed. Avoid bird or wire cages, as these can cause feather and soft tissue damage. The carrier should have plenty of ventilation holes and should only be slightly larger than the size of the bird. The less room an injured bird has to move around, the less likely it is to cause more injury to itself. However, on the flip side, if a container is too small, a bird can sustain extensive wing and feather damage. Avoid excessive heat or cold, and always place the bird feet down; it will likely suffocate if placed on its back.

Until the bird can be transferred, provide it with a dark, quiet, calm, warm environment. Darkness has a calming effect on birds. Extra care should be taken to keep the bird away from children and pets.

Do not keep a raptor any longer than is necessary to get it to a veterinary professional, raptor rehabilitator, or state/federal wildlife representative.