• How Can We Help?

  • How Can We Help?

  • How Can We Help?

  • How Can We Help?

  • How Can We Help?

Wildlife: Birds

Are you experiencing an issue with birds in your area?  If you have an urgent concern, please get in touch with us right away.  If you are looking for more information, please click on one of the questions below to expand the content and find your answer.  If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at DFW Wildlife Coalition.

A baby bird needs help if,

  • Parents are known to be dead
  • Is injured, bleeding, broken wing or leg
  • Fire ants or flies
  • Lethargic, laying on its side
  • Cat or dog caught
  • Fishing line or other object tangled in the wing or body
  • Shivering is cold, featherless or nearly featherless and you cannot safely return to the nest.
  • Wandering and vocalizing

Read FAQ:  How to contain, prepare, and transport.
FAQ:  Ways to provide heat for orphan or injured wild animal.
FAQ:  How to locate a wildlife rehabilitator.

There is exception for rescuing a bird on the ground, consider the following before you rescue.

A nestling is a bird that is too young to be away from the nest.  It will have no feathers or incomplete feathering, such as downy feathers or pin feathers which are undeveloped feathers consisting mostly of the shaft.

  • A nestling should be returned to the nest for care and warmth from the parents. If you can safely return the nestling, do so.
  • Birds will not reject a baby you have handled.
  • If the entire nest and several nestlings are on the ground, you can get the nest and babies put in a small wicker basket or a cool whip container with holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.  The container needs to be shallow as the parents will not accept a deep container.  Attach to the tree as close to the original site as you can safely do so.  Go inside and watch from a window to determine if the parents have resumed care.  If they do not resume care within two hours proceed with rescue.

A fledgling is a fully feathered bird that is learning to fly.  The fledgling will look like the parents; however, the tail feathers are shorter.

  • The fledgling will be on the ground hopping around. At this stage they are often kidnapped by well meaning individuals who do not understand the process of learning to fly which will take several days up to a couple of weeks depending on the species. The parents will continue to feed and protect the bird.  Normally the fledgling will hide in shrubbery or undergrowth.  If you see the parent do not rescue unless the fledgling is injured.

Ground nesting birds such as killdeer, are born feathered and ready to run and partially feed themselves.  If they are active and running do not rescue.

Ducklings or gosling should always be accompanied by a mother, if not rescue.

Please manage your pets during these critical times by taking cats and dogs indoors.

  • If the bird has been hit by a car or attacked by a cat or dog, and, an adult can safely do so, a helping hand is appreciated.
  • Your personal safety is first and foremost. We recommend using gloves. If you do not have gloves use fabric such as a towel, T-shirt, or whatever fabric you may have on hand. Cover the injured bird as this will reduce stress and assist in protecting yourself.
  • When a bird is covered it will lay still and not struggle pick up from behind keeping the wings close to the body.
  • With raptors, such as owls and hawks, keep in mind where the beak and feet/talons are located. You must wear heavy gloves, long sleeves to protect your hands and arms from the talons and beak. Eye protection is required.
  • Use extreme caution with birds that have long beaks, such as a heron, be sure the beak is covered securely and firmly pointing away from your face. Wear eye protection, as these birds use their beaks as a spear.
  • When trying to rescue water birds such as ducks or geese, try to get a blanket covering the eyes. If you cannot get close enough to place a blanket, then walk the bird to an area with undergrowth away from the water. Once the bird gets in the tall grass or undergrowth it will assume you can’t see it. You can then cover the duck or goose with the blanket and from behind pick up keeping wings next to the body. It is easier to rescue at dusk.
  • Never pick a bird up by the tail or wings.
  • Remember if you cannot contain the bird, safely, contact authorities for assistance or the hotline, 972-234-9453.
  • An injured bird will, if able try to defend itself. Do not pick the bird up unless you can safely do so.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Read FAQ: How to contain and prepare wildlife for transport
  • Read FAQ: Ways to provide heat for orphan or injured wild animal
  • Read FAQ: How to locate a wildlife rehabilitator

Thank you for being a caring person and for taking the time to save wildlife! Once you have identified an animal in need of care, it will be necessary to contain the animal so that it can be safely transported to a permitted animal rehabilitator. Only adults should handle wildlife, provided it can be done safely.

Steps in the Transport Process:

  1. Choose an appropriate container for transport.
    Containers need to be chosen based on the wildlife being rescued/transported. For tiny to small animals, a shoe box with a few extra air holes poked from the inside out works well. For medium to older babies, use a small to medium pet carrier or larger box. If using a pet carrier, cover the carrier to make the inside dark.  For adult animals, be sure the container has a lid and that the animal cannot chew through or get out of the container. Remember darkness helps the animal to relax. Never transport with an open container!
  2. Prepare your container
    Provide soft bedding. An old T-shirt or similar fabric is ideal. Avoid fabrics with large loops or an extremely open weave. Towels, terry cloth, and similar fabrics have threads that can get wrapped around little toes and ankles and cut off circulation.
  3. Placing animals in the container
    For baby animals, use an old T-shirt or wear gloves to gently pick up and place the baby wildlife in the container.  Older wildlife will definitely require gloves and the T-shirt or a towel In order to have adequate fabric between you and the terrified animal.  The towel serves two purposes: aids in protecting your hands and covers the little animal’s eyes to make it less afraid as you pick up and place in the container.
  4. Provide heat source.  Read FAQ “Ways to provide heat for orphaned or injured wild animal”.
  5. Reach out to a professional.
    Contact DFW Wildlife Coalition hotline 972-234-9453 or a permitted wildlife rehabilitator for instructions and information on when and where to transport. The hotline is staffed by volunteers and rehabilitators might be caring for animals when you call. It may take an hour or so for a return phone call. Until then, keep the container in a quite dark place away from family pets and children.
  6. Be prepared to transport as soon as possible.
    If you are personally unavailable, check with friends, family, or neighbors.  Often there is someone willing to participate in the rescue. If you still are having difficulty check with your HOA, neighborhood app or Facebook.  Uber is an option as well.
  7. During the transport process:
    ** Please refrain from using the radio while driving. The little life you are transporting is very afraid and the radio will only add to its stress.
    ** Please do not transport in the bed of a pickup truck! Wind, road noise, and extreme temperatures could further compromise the animal.
  8. Meeting the Rehabber:
    When meeting the rehabilitation professional and handing off the animal, please remember to give details of the rescue to the rehabber.
    ** A donation towards the care of the animal would also be deeply appreciated by the rehabber. Rehabilitators do not receive assistance from city or state agencies.

Thank you for being a caring person and for taking the time to save wildlife!

Saving a life begins with making sure an orphaned or injured animal has heat. Begin by providing soft bedding for the animal you are rescuing. An old T-shirt or similar fabric is ideal. Avoid fabrics with large loops or an extremely open weave. Towels, terry cloth, and similar fabrics have threads that can get wrapped around little toes and ankles and cut off circulation.

Once you have provided bedding, the next step is to supply warmth. Holding or placing an animal in your pocket is not an adequate or safe way to keep the baby warm.  It is also terrifying for the animal. Remember, to the animal you are rescuing, you are a predator!

Warming techniques:

  • Place 1 cup of uncooked rice in a sock and tie or rubber band the open end. Place in the microwave for 1 minute. If not warm, heat another 30-60 seconds until the sock is warm but NOT HOT. If you don’t have rice, try lentils or similar product.
  • Put hot water in a bottle and place the bottle in a sock. This is a good solution if you are traveling or at the office.
  • If it will be several hours until you can transport the animal to a rehabilitator, use a heating pad set on low.  It is very important to place heating pad under one half of the container only so that the animal can choose the side of the container it prefers.  When checking on the baby, it should be warm but not sweaty or hot.
    • CAUTION: Newer heating pads have automatic shut offs that you may need to monitor if you are keeping the animal overnight.  

The rice sock or hot water bottle will travel with the animal as you are transporting to a wildlife rehabilitator.  Each can be reheated as needed and normally they will each hold the temperature long enough to transport the animal to safety.

There are several options for you as you begin your search for professional help for an animal in need. Remember, the wild animal you have rescued should be respected as such. Please keep children and pets away from wild animals

 

  • DFW Wildlife Coalition telephone hotline 972-234-WILD or 972-234-9453
    Hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 365 days per year.  Our 100{376de46712742e812dd3d98559fb34c156542d2d9d295b06b04bc04c2527f5a7} volunteer operated hotline will assist in finding a wildlife rehabilitator that specializes in the wildlife or type of injury, orphaned, and or conflict or concern you may have.  
  • Animal Help Now (www.ahnow.org)
    If you have called the DFW Wildlife Coalition and it is after hours, you cannot reach a volunteer, or you live outside of the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas and surrounding counties, you may find a wildlife rehabilitator at Animal Help Now website (www.ahnow.org).  Animal Help Now is a national database of wildlife or veterinarian professionals.

 

You may download Animal Help Now, free application for either iPhone or Android called “Animal Help Now”.  This app will work on GPS lists wildlife rehabilitators or veterinarians based on hours of operation.  You may need to search in surrounding cities or counties. If you are searching late at night, you may want to check again in the morning in the event there are other options.  

If you cannot locate a rehabilitator or transport the animal immediately, provide heat all night and do not attempt to feed.  Most animals will not eat when in pain and you can do more harm than good by force feeding or providing food. Please refrain from handling needlessly. Remember, you are a predator and may be causing undo stress and fear.  Prey species can die from stress.  

As tempting as it might be to keep the animal and attempt to care for it yourself, please remember that it is illegal to keep a wild animal. Delay in transporting may be the difference in life or death and the animals best chance at survival rests with being placed with a permitted professional.  If you delay, you might compromise the recovery of the animal you have rescued.

 

ONCE YOU HAVE LOCATED A REHABILITATION PROFESSIONAL

  • Be prepared to transport as quickly as possible once you have located a rehabilitation professional.  If you know that you cannot do so, please reach out to neighbors, family and friends for help in transporting the life you have rescued. Wildlife rehabilitators have their hands full providing feedings, medical attention, and husbandry to the animals in their care; they typically do not have the time or volunteers to pick up wildlife.  If you still cannot locate transportation, please reach out to friends in your HOA, neighborhood app, or Facebook. Uber might also be an option for transport.
  • Once you have placed your animal with the rehabber and provided information about its history with you, please donate to the wildlife rehabilitator as they do not receive assistance from city or state agencies.

Thank you for being a caring person and for taking the time to save wildlife!

When a bird is looking at the window, they often will see the reflection of the sky or trees not the window. A few ways to prevent these collisions are as follows:

  • Keep mosquito or solar screens up all year.
  • Apply decals, spacing them across and up and down the window. Many art and craft stores carry decals.
  • Hang wind chimes with shinny objects above the window.
  • Move feeders or bird baths, either within 3 feet of the window, which will limit collision opportunity, or more than 30 feet away so that the birds will recognize the whole house instead of the reflection.
  • Keep your vertical blinds at least halfway closed and shades, or curtains closed to reduce reflection.
  • At night, keep your lights off or close your curtains and shades.
    Relocate house plants several feet away from the window.
  • Apply a window film to the outside of the window. There are transparent window films that allow light in while appearing opaque on the outside
  • Apply bird tape. https://www.collidescape.org/abc-birdtape
  • Install a “Zen curtain” https://www.birdsavers.com/
  • Further solutions especially if you are building a home or replacing your windows. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/why-birds-hit-windows-and-how-you-can-help-prevent-it/

If you are routinely finding birds that have flown into your office building share with the management and owners, the following information on FLAP. Dallas and Fort Worth are in the migratory flight paths, many songbirds migrate at night and can be drawn to the light and become confused and collide. Everyone working together can make a difference.

Fatal Light Awareness Program, FLAP. http://flap.org/. Mission, “FLAP Canada is dedicated to safeguarding migratory birds in the urban environment through education, policy development, research, rescue, and rehabilitation.”


Often, we have bushes in our yards that have berries. When the berries experience freezing and thawing temperatures it will often cause the berries to ferment. Cedar Waxwings are known to eat the berries and become drunk.

  • A simple solution of placing an inverted laundry basket over the bird to give them time to sober is usually all that is needed.
  • Put all pets inside.
  • If they are located near the street or animals may be present that could cause harm, you may need to relocate them to a safer place.
  • Birds may eat Amdro Ant Block, bait or other granular pesticides, they can appear drunk.

If you or your neighbor may have used a pesticide, the bird is injured or was cat caught, or has not recovered in two hours it must go to a wildlife rehabilitator.
Contact the hotline 972-234-9453

Barn Swallows build mud and straw nest and like to place the nest around the eaves and vertical structures of our homes.  Swallows eat insects and are beneficial to our neighborhoods.  However, it is understandable that the activity of a nest of baby swallows can be messy and a health concern.  Swallows are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.  An active nest with eggs or babies cannot be removed or harassed.  

To understand and resolve conflict you need a brief on the natural history.  The breeding season is March through September with two clutches of 3 to 5 young.  Once eggs are laid they incubate 13-17 days. Once hatched the babies will fledge in 18-21 days of which the first week and a half or so, the parents eat the feces.  The conflict begins when this period ends after hatching and the babies start defecating over the rim of the nest. This will be a period of approximately two weeks where placing newspaper, or plastic tablecloth or tarp on the porch or automobile or patio furniture will make clean up easier.  Once the babies fledge they will come and go from the nest for several weeks. The bulk of the conflict will be the two weeks prior to fledging. Patience needs to be exercised as this conflict is short term and the benefit is insect reduction in your yard and neighborhood.

Once the nest is empty and prior to the second clutch, you may remove the nest.  You may need to continually interrupt nest construction by washing away the mud until the swallows become discouraged and move elsewhere.  REMEMBER you cannot destroy an active nest.  Other deterrents are hanging plants at the location of the nest or other moving objects such as windsocks, blowing devices, or strips of aluminum foil.  Play distress swallow calls may alarm the birds to relocate.

You may want to encourage the swallows to nest at another location or you may want to make a permanent modification to prevent further nest building these topics are in the following links.

https://www.fws.gov/cno/conservation/MigratoryBirds/pdf-files/Swallows-4-27-18.pdf

http://www.dfwwildlife.org/BirdSwallow.pdf

Chimney Swifts must nest in hollow trees or other vertical cylinders such as a chimney.  Due to the anatomy of their feet, they cannot perch as other birds do on a tree limb. In our cities, the chimney is used for their nest and raising of the young.  A small cup shape nest made of twigs glued with their salvia is attached to a brick or rock of the interior of your chimney. The young mature in 30 days and often go unnoticed until the final two weeks.  Patience is recommended.  You can try insulating the noise with some foam or similar product placed in the firebox under the damper to muffle the baby’s cries.  Do not use insulation as it is harmful to the birds due to the fiberglass. Be sure and remove these items once the swifts have left. Understand that thousands of insects including mosquitos are being consumed and fed to these babies, this is beneficial to you.

Once the babies leave the nest in two weeks the conflict is resolved.

It is recommended to have your chimney cleaned and old nest removed.  If your chimney liner is a metal flue or other slick surface a chimney cap is recommended to keep Chimney Swifts from becoming trapped in your flue as well as raccoons and squirrels.  

If you believe a baby has fallen from the nest, please contact the hotline 972-234-9453, or Rogers Wildlife Center 972-225-4000.  DO NOT REMOVE BABIES FROM A NEST. Babies are best raised by their natural parents. Chimney Swifts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

For the benefits of the Chimney swift, and considerations for the loss of habitat due to urban landscapes limiting dead hollow trees, read further in the following links for alternatives you may want to pursue to encourage your feathered friend and their hearty appetite of insects in your neighborhood.

http://www.chimneyswifts.org/

http://www.dfwwildlife.org/BirdChimneySwift.pdf

https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/nonpwdpubs/media/dwa_chimney_swift_information_2005.pdf