Common Wildlife Injuries
If a bird has (or you suspect it has) flown into a window it may be suffering from a range of injuries from concussion or head trauma, to broken wings and bones or internal organ damage. Many birds do not survive the impact of a window strike. If the bird survives the initial impact it may quickly be prayed upon by roaming cats or natural predators like foxes or hawks. Follow these steps to help a bird that has hit a window:
If the bird does not fly away
contact us or the closest
authorized wildlife custodian to you for next steps.
Prepare a container; a small cardboard box or plastic tub will work provided there are holes for ventilation.
Wear gloves; cloth or leather garden gloves, rubber dish gloves or disposable latex are all suitable options. The oils in human hands are very harmful to delicate bird feathers.
Gently scoop the bird into the box. Avoid touching it as much as possible.
Do not offer any food or water.
Leave the box in a safe, dark and quiet area. The bird needs to stay quiet and dark to give its body and brain a chance to recuperate.
Wait at least an hour - up to 3; take the box outside and open it up. If the bird has recovered enough it will fly away.
Hitting an animal with your vehicle or seeing one in distress on the road can be very upsetting. It’s important to remain calm, watch for oncoming traffic and assess the situation for your safety before proceeding to assist an animal in the road.
If the animal is
dead, use gloves, a shovel or piece of cardboard to move it off from the road and prevent scavengers from getting hit while foraging on the remains. Contact the local municipality animal control for removal.
It it’s safe to do so, put on your hazard lights on and pull over.
For large game like Bear, Coyote or Deer call the police to report the collision and for assistance.
if you feel comfortable and equipped, follow
Wildlife Capture Guide to contain the animal.
Contact us or an
authorized wildlife custodian for further next steps
Cat / Dog Attack
Our domestic pets can have severe and detrimental effects on wild animals and birds they come into contact with while outside. We generally will recommend any wild animal that has been grabbed or pawed by a cat or dog be brought in for assessment and treatment. Though many times an animal may seem calm or uninjured after an altercation with a pet, they are likely suffering from internal injuries or broken bones not easily spotted by the untrained eye. Calmness is often miss understood by finders as a positive thing, but for wild animals its generally a sign of shock, pain or fear.
If you have found a wild animal you know or suspect has been attacked by a cat or dog, follow the
Wildlife Capture Guide and
contact us or an
authorized wildlife custodian near you.
Common Wildlife Illnesses
A common microscopic bug that burrows beneath the skin causing intense irritation and can often lead to serious infections. Healthy wild furbearing mammals often recover on their own from mild infections, but severe cases or in animals that are compromised the infection can lead to life threatening secondary infections or starvation.
Severe cases will need treatment, which can be very effective. Follow the
Wildlife Capture Guide or contact a
wildlife custodian authorized for the species you are concerned about.
The effects of rodenticides are still being studied but it is understood they weaken the immune system of animals consuming poison or poisoned prey, leaving them susceptible to complicated mange infections.
Pox: Squirrel / Avian
There are many different types and strains of the Pox Virus, some that exclusively effect either Squirrels or Birds. Sores, legions or abscesses, especially around the nose, eyes, feet and urogenital area, are often symptoms of various pox infections. Pox viruses are highly contagious and can be spread through direct contact with infected birds and animals or contaminated surfaces (e.g., feeders), or by ingestion of contaminated food or water.
There is no genuine cure, and most birds and animals will succumb to the virus in time. If you have seen a wild animal or bird with what you think may be suffering from a pox infection,
contact us or an
authorized wildlife custodian near you. If there are bird or squirrel feeders up they should be taken down for at least two weeks to prevent further spread. Make sure to wash them before putting them back up, or consider a pollinator garden to support native birds without the risk of spreading disease.
House Finch Eye Disease
Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis is a bacterial disease that leaves birds with red, swollen, runny, or crusty eyes. In extreme cases the bird may go blind when the eyes become swollen shut. You might observe an infected bird sitting quietly in your yard, clumsily scratching an eye against its foot or a perch. While some infected birds recover, many die from starvation, exposure, or predation. The disease has affected several other wild bird species, including American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, and Purple Finch.
If the bird can be safely captured, treatment is often successful. If you have seen a wild bird suffering from you think may be Conjuctivitus, follow the
Wildlife Capture Guide and
contact us or an
authorized wildlife custodian near you. If there are bird feeders up they should be taken down for at least two weeks to prevent further spread. Make sure to wash them before putting them back up, or consider a pollinator garden to support native birds without the risk of spreading disease.
It can be very difficult to distinguish the symptoms of distemper from rabies, and both viruses effect similar species including raccoons, skunks and foxes. The virus causes respiratory congestion, visible by discharge around the nose and eyes. As the virus progresses it damages neurological tissue, often causing spinning, seizures and teeth chattering.
Pets should be routinely vaccinated against distemper but there is a risk of transfer if your pets vaccines are out of date. Contact a
wildlife custodian authorized for RVS before approaching an animal you suspect is suffering from distemper.
Rabies is a zoonotic virus - meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans. All mammals can contract rabies but in Ontario it is usually seen in raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. Once symptoms present it is almost always fatal, often within just a few weeks. The virus is spread through saliva and can infect through a bite, scratch or mucous membranes like in the mouth or eyes.
wildlife custodian authorized for RVS before approaching an animal you suspect may be suffering from rabies.
For more information about rabies, provincial management programs, and what to do if you’ve been exposed, contact the
MNRF or your local
public health unit.