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Injured Adults

Found an injured adult mammal or bird? Scroll down for information on how to contain and transport your animal in need!

From flying into windows to being hit by cars to being poisoned by litter, there are many different injuries that can befall our amazing native wildlife. However, there are also times an animal might SEEM injured when in fact, it's just fine! How do you know if the wild animal you've found needs help? Check out these helpful hints:

  • Birds of Prey (hawks, owls, eagles):

    • If you see a bird of prey sitting in a field by itself, there is a real possibility it is just eating. We get tons of calls about bald eagles in fields and it almost always turns out to be a hungry fellow enjoying some dinner.​

      • To find out if the bird you've found needs help, simply walk up to him/her! They may mantle (drape their wings and body) over their food to protect it or they may fly away. If the bird tries to fly away but can't or has a noticeable injury, call your local rehabilitation center as soon as possible!​

  • Nocturnal animals out during the day? Something must be wrong! it?

    • It is actually not at all uncommon to see mammals we think of as nocturnal, like skunks and raccoons, walking around during the daytime. Seeing one of these animals while the sun is up is not cause for concern UNLESS it is acting strangely, falling down when it's trying to walk, or has a noticeable injury.​

  • I found a duck who can't fly! Help!

    • First things first...what time of year is it? Many waterfowl molt their flight feathers in the later summer months. This means that these aquatic birds go for several weeks with a greatly reduced ability to fly! Unless you notice a serious injury, there is no need to worry.​

  • I live in the city and there is a wild animal in my yard, it must be lost!

    • Hold on friends, that might not be the case at all. Many of Ohio's native animals have become urbanized. From ducks nesting on mall roofs to foxes living under dumpsters, plenty of animals have figured out how to navigate city "jungles." ​

    • Shouldn't we move them to better habitat? No way! These animals know exactly where their food is, what predators to avoid, and where to find shelter. If you suddenly drop them into a forest, it would be like someone dropping you into a foreign country you'd never been to, you didn't speak the language of, and you had no map for. No matter where they live, there are dangers whether that is from a feral cat or car or if it is from predators and falling trees.

  • Not sure if the animal you found needs help? Give us a call at 419-684-9539 and we can help you figure out if someone needs to step in.

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Be CAREFUL! Wild animals do not know you are trying to help. They can and will defend themselves. Don't let a stunned animal who seems complacent fool you! Here are some safe methods for containing and transporting a wild animal to your local wildlife rehabilitation center.

  • Gather together a broom/shovel, a box/container, and a towel or blanket (preferably non-terry so their toenails do not get caught).

  • Place the container over top of the animal. If your container has a lid, you will not need the broom or shovel. Using the lid, broom, or shovel, GENTLY push the animal into the container and close it. Make sure your patient can still breath

  • If possible, place the blanket/towel into the container to help soak up waste or any other bodily fluids that can cause further problems for the little guy. 

  • Before placing the container in your vehicle, make sure the animal is secure! Try not to play the radio too loudly or make it too hot or too cold in your vehicle. This will help reduce your patient's stress.

  • Remember, most wildlife centers are non-profit and work with a very small staff. We depend on heroes like you to help us rescue helpless wild animals. Thanks so much for helping us make a difference!

Special Considerations for Aquatic Birds

Transporting ducks, herons, and other waterbirds can be a little more challenging. Here are some tips and hints to help you help wildlife!

  • Did you know that ducks, and other waterbirds, don't swim, they float? That's right! And they depend on their waterproofed feathers to do so.

    • So what does this mean for you? You should avoid touching a duck or other swimming aquatic bird with your bare hands as much as possible. Our fingers have oils on them that can damage the waterproofing on their feathers and essentially create a hole in their "wet-suit."

    • Instead of using your bare hands, try using a towel or gloves when picking up an injured duck.

  • Herons, egrets, and even loons have frighteningly long, dagger-like beaks and they know how to use them! If you're going to transport one of these long-legged birds, the safest way to contain them is to put something over them before handling them at all (such as a blanket or trash can). You should never put your face up to theirs as they can give you a good poke with that long and very sharp beak.

  • If you've found a waterbird with fish hooks or lures stuck in its body, don't attempt to remove them! Pulling the hooks out can actually cause more damage. We have special tools to help us safely remove hooks and lures here at Back to the Wild.


Still have questions? Didn't find the answers you were looking for here? Just want to chat with some awesome wildlife people? We don't blame you, we want to chat with us too!

We are more than happy to help you with whatever wildlife questions you have. Don't hesitate to give our trained staff a call at 419-684-9539. For our calling hours, click HERE.

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