Wild Bird Rehabilitation
Lake Milton Raptor Center is one of a few centers in the state of Michigan that is permitted through the USFWS and state of Michigan for rehabilitate to all native species of birds. The raptor center does specialize in the rehabilitation of birds of prey. We are able to give the highest medical care with the help of the great veterinarians of Bergman Veterinary Clinic in Cassopolis, MI.
If you have found an injured or orphaned bird, please do contain the bird in a box and call our rehabber, Aimee at 269-762-0063.
All migratory birds are protected by federal and state laws and there are stiff penalties for violations. It is illegal to shoot, trap, or otherwise harm any wild bird. It is illegal to have possession of a wild bird, even if it's one that was injured or orphaned unless you are in the process of getting the bird to a permitted rehabilitator within 24 hours of finding the bird. It is even illegal to possess an egg, feather or nest of one of these birds without a special federal permit.
Handling an Injured Bird
Before catching/containing an injured or orphaned bird, please take the following steps in preparation.
- Prepare a container. Put a soft cloth in a cardboard box or pet carrier. If a box, make sure there are air holes.
- Cover the container with a light sheet or towel. You want to keep the bird warm and calm. Keeping the container dark also will help keep the animal calm.
- Protect yourself. Wear heavy leather gloves if possible. Wear eye protection with birds that have long sharp beaks. Some birds may bite or scratch to protect themselves, even if sick or injured. Remember the bird is terrified of you.
After you have the above ready, read the following guidelines in catching an injured bird.
- For an injured bird that cannot fly, you can use a towel, blanket or a coat to drop over the whole bird and gather up the bundle to place the bird safely and securely in a box. If dealing with a bird of prey (eagle, falcon, hawk, owl or vulture) they have sharp and strong feet and talons. Be aware of the location of the feet and keep away from them or safely secure the feet with thick gloves or blanket as the raptor may reach out with the talons to protect itself. A raptor will flip on their back and strike out with the feet. If you have an injured heron, crane or other bird with very long beaks, make sure to get the towel over their head and hold on to the beak as you pick them up. These birds use the beak like a sword and is their way of protecting themselves.
- For an injured bird that has little flight, you can use a fishing net to net the bird from a distance and then use a towel or gloves to get the bird out of the net and into a secure box.
- For an injured bird that has full flight, for example one that just has a broken leg, please call the wild bird rehabilitator for further instructions.
- For a bird that has hit your house window and looks to be injured or stunned, place it in a secure box that has a towel or paper towel on the bottom for traction. If you do not have a box, a brown paper bag will work also and put a few air holes in the bag and can staple it shut. Place the box/bag with the bird into a dark and quiet room then call a wild bird