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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7322
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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I had to free a small (young) wren from a glue trap made for

Customer Question

I had to free a small (young) wren from a glue trap made for snakes and rodents where I would never expect birds to go. To allow it to work itself free, I had to pour some olive oil around it's leg and sides, including the wings. It lost eight, long flight feathers to the glue trap.

I bathed it in very warm, shallow water with a bit of dawn and carefully and gently rinsed it several times. I currently have it in a 5 gallon bucket (so it can't jump out) filled with bedding made of cut-up, plain white paper towel, and put some water as well as two small balls of peanut butter with whole wheat bread crumbs and minced apple.
How do I determine if the oil is gone sufficiently from it's feathers, and how long should I wait before another round of bathing(s) so as not to scare it into shock? I was told to wait a day or two and let it out in the fenced backyard lawn to see how it behaved to see if it was progressing normally. But what is "normal" in this case?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 months ago.
You have a good instinct when it comes to doing the right things. I'd like to see you actually join the forces of avian wildlife rescue in your area -- can you imagine how many other birds have this same accident? A lot more than you imagine.

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Your next step isn't to bath the bird again, but get the bird to that wildlife rescue. Here's why: When we train rescuers one of the first things we go through when it comes to foreign substance soiling is the method of bathing. Odd as it sounds there's a specific technique.

The most important reason to get the bird to 'rescue' is for the automatic health check it gets by an avian specific vet; the environment it gets put in to maintain it's health and thriving (including specific foods appropriate for this type of bird) - and appropriate interaction (or lack of interaction) to insure when the bird is 100% releasable it will not be imprinted on humans

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Never release an injured or even minorly impaired bird to freedom. It could very likely end within minutes. We don't always see the predators just waiting for the chance. Whether cats, dogs or other birds, chances are you'll never get there first.

So, for tonight, here's an 'urgent care room' to set up for this rescue:


When there is an urgent care situation with a bird, most cases will require additional heat as stress can create a body temperature loss that can be quite dangerous.
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First you'll want a brooder box. This is a sort of ‘intensive care unit' at home.
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For a makeshift brooder, use a small box lined with soft clothes like tee shirts.
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Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes. Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it's not too hot. Tuck this in just under the cloths.
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A heating pad under one half of the box is also helpful, set on low. This is one of the few times I’d ever use both heat sources if necessary to maintain incubation temp (90-105 degrees).
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If ever using an electric source for heating anything in anyway, please be vigilant and constantly double checking carefully.
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Gently drape a light cover over this box to further help hold heat in and keep light low.
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Please let me know how it goes ok? And I'm very serious about you getting involved in local rescue efforts. Especially for birds. We never have enough!
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

I'm sorry that it took this long to find this site; I was afraid that over-handling the wren would send it into shock. If it's not moving, though it's alive, as I transfer it from the bucket with shredded paper towel bedding, will it still stand a chance of survival?


 


And, yes, I will look for an organization involved with rescue efforts. I used to help someone when I worked downtown Chicago and would find birds stunned or half-dead from flying into the reflective windows early in the morning (always around 6 or 7am).

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Oh, and of course -- what about food and water? Did I do things adequately or right?

Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 months ago.
Handling a wild bird can be a stressor, but reasonably done it's not likely to lead to death.

However, bathing a soiled bird requires training and while that might have been stressful as well, it sounds like you've got him/her feeling safe and calm now.

We prefer to not feed wildlife that has been injured or found for any other reason. I place a shallow dish of water with low sides in the area, but you really don't have to do that either. 12-24 hours waiting for transport to 'rescue' is usually ok without food/water.

There are exceptions, but that would depend on the urgent care event that led up to rescue.

And you see, I KNEW you had some experience. Isn't it time to do this for all birds?

S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7322
Experience: Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
S. August Abbott, CAS and other Bird Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for your time. I don't know how you do it at this time of the night! I am grateful for your kind assistance and patience.

Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 months ago.
-- I run an exotic bird rescue & rehab during the day. I have 6 of the bigger psittacines (Parrots) here right now and more than I can keep track of in foster homes that volunteer for me. I used to work in wildlife rescue and rehab until a little cockatiel led me down another path. I still don't know how the BIG parrots happened, but they did and my life is committed to helping and respecting birds.

It's a fantastic calling that I recommend highly.

I'd love for you to remember me and check back now and then (use 'reply' on this same question thread) - let me know how you're doing and what you're doing.

I'd be so happy to hear that you become a wildlife avain rehabber. Spring finds us with a flood of needy birds and not enough rehabbers

---- I'll say goodnight now. Daybreak tends to come awfully early here.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Sadly the bird was dead by 7:30am. I don't think the brooder box I made well after midnight was enough, I don't know. Too many variables to even know why the poor thing died. I just don't think I did enough of the right things and then those the right way. /:(

Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 months ago.
I cannot let you blame yourself. I still really want to encourage you to become a rehabber - there are plenty of heartbreaks like this but just one 'save' and suddenly it's worth it.

You have to remember that whatever caused this wren to end up somewhere it shouldn't have been could have been the cause of death. Birds are masters at 'masking' - they often convince even seasoned professionals that they're 'fine'. We have to learn to be sort of CSI's. Investigate those things we can't see, like why the bird was even near the traps to begin with

To provide solace to my own heart when I lose not just the battle, but the war, I remind myself that at least the bird lived their last moments being loved, kept in comfort and safe from a horrific death by predator.

You did everything you could

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