Fourth Crossing Wildlife

Fourth Crossing Wildlife
dedicated to the conservation of Australian flora and fauna...
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Short Term Care

Short Term Care for Birds of Prey
I  advise, if you can help it, that you do not attempt to handle or feed any Raptor  (Bird of Prey).  Raptors, such as eagles, falcons, kestrels and hawks have  extremely strong & sharp beaks and talons (claws), and they can do incredible  damage if given the chance.

However,  if you don't have a choice, then only ever attempt to pick up a raptor if it is  covered with a blanket or something similar.  Smaller raptors are easy to  pick up once they've got a blanket or towel over them, the best place to put your  hands is on the body around the chest area pinning down it's wings. If the bird  is panicky, try to keeps it's legs apart so that it doesn't grip onto itself and  cause injuries with its talons.   

An eagle is a little more difficult  to pick up, due to its incredible strength.  Once the blanket is over the  bird run your hands down over its body and down its legs to just above the feet,  grip tightly (but not too tight to hurt the bird).  When you pick it up,  keep the body of the bird close to your chest with its legs are pointing away  from you.  Try and pin its wings down with your arms so that it can't flick  them out.

Picking  up a raptor is at your own responsibility and risk. Wildlife carers are trained  on the correct handling of raptors so that they minimise risk of personal injury.  If you are unsure about the correct way to handle a raptor - then don't. Ring  your nearest veterinarian, wildlife organisation or experienced carer as soon  as possible.

Do  not feed any wild animal for at least a few hours after rescue - they need to  have their stress levels reduced and  too much human contact can send them  into shock.  

Additionally, it is very important that you do not feed a cold  animal as any food will not be digested properly and the bird may die. If the  rescued bird is cold you will need to warm it very slowly (over a period of 2 hours) - if you warm the bird  too quickly it may also die from heat-stress related complications. An animal  that is badly injured or sick will not want to eat.  If this is the case,  just leave the bird until an experienced carer can collect it, or take it to a  veterinarian.

      
With any raptor it is very important to give it the correct diet.  Steak from the butchers is not a healthy option.  Raptors need guts and fur/feathers in their diet and generally the best choices are rabbit,          rats, chickens, etc.  

Be careful when euthanasing (killing) animals, using chemical solutions will be passed on to the bird and will be fatal.  Also, animals which have been shot could contain lead particles which will eventually kill the bird.  If you can't get hold of any of these types of food, then lean meat is a short term option.

      
When  feeding aim to give enough to the bird so that there is a little left over.   Discard left overs daily (unless they are carrion feeders, such as eagles).   Interestingly a raptor chick will eat twice as much as an adult.

Feeding  a raptor is actually quite tricky as different breeds need vitamin and mineral  supplements.  It is best to consult a veterinarian, wildlife organisation  or experienced carer for the proper diet for each raptor.

Please  remember that these birds can do a great deal of damage if handled by an inexperienced  person.  A wild bird will be very scared when coming into contact with humans,  and it could become aggressive and attack, purely to protect itself.

      
I can't stress enough the importance of keeping away from those sharp talons, an eagle can easily punch a considerable sized hole into your flesh.

      
For  their own safety keep your family, friend and pets away from the bird at all times.

***   Please note that most raptors are protected under the Australian law.
Fourth Crossing Wildlife
e: linda@fourthcrossingwildlife.com
a: c/o Wiangaree Post Office, 60 Worando Street, WIANGAREE NSW 2474
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