Wildlife Injuries

Window Strike

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 does survive the initial impact it may quickly be preyed upon by roaming cats or natural predators like foxes or hawks. Birds are extremely sensitive to inflammation resulting from physical trauma due to window strikes or vehicular collisions.


Follow our Wildlife Capture Guide and contact us, or the closest Authorized Wildlife Custodian to you, for next steps.

Road Strike

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 on the road.

  • If it’s safe to do so, put on your hazard lights and pull over.

  • For large game like bear, coyote, or deer call the police to report the collision and to ask for assistance.

  • If you feel comfortable and equipped, follow the Wildlife Capture Guide to contain the animal.

  • Contact us, or the closest Authorized Wildlife Custodian, for further next steps

If the animal is dead, use gloves, a shovel or piece of cardboard to move it off the road and prevent scavengers from getting hit while foraging on the remains. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water and disinfect with bleach or discard equipment used. Contact the local municipality animal control unit for removal.

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 misunderstood by finders as a positive thing, but for wild animals it’s 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 the closest Authorized Wildlife Custodian.

Fish Line & Hooks

If you find an animal with a fish hook stuck in it, DO NOT attempt to remove the hook. Removing a hook is extremely painful for the animal and can cause more damage if not done precisely. If there is fishing line impeding breathing or mobility, only attempt to cut the line with clear visibility.


Make sure you dispose of cut line and hooks properly. Follow our Wildlife Capture Guide and contact us, or an Authorized Wildlife Custodian, immediately.

Glue & Sticky Traps

If you have found a live animal stuck to a glue trap or tape, DO NOT attempt to remove it, or apply oil or soaps. Removing them is extremely painful and stressful to an already compromised wild animal and must be done with skill and care. To prevent the animal from sticking further, cover the exposed sticky surfaces with cornstarch or flour. Be very careful to avoid the face, eyes, nose, and mouth of the animal.


Keep the animal contained in a dark quiet spot and contact us, or an Authorized Wildlife Custodian right away.

Oiled Wildlife

If you have found an oiled or contaminated bird, DO NOT attempt to clean the bird or give it a bath. The process is extremely stressful to an already compromised wild animal and must be done with skill and care. Improper technique is almost always fatal.


Follow our Wildlife Capture Guide and contact us, or the closest Authorized Wildlife Custodian right away.

Fly Strike

Fly strike occurs when certain species of fly lay their eggs on an animal, which can then hatch into maggots within hours. These maggots then eat the animal’s flesh, which is often fatal, due to infection or from toxic shock. Wild animals that are injured, orphaned, or damp are most at risk, as they cannot remove the parasites in a weakened or compromised state.


The eggs look like small white grains of rice clumped together. Any sign of fly strike is an indication of compromise; follow our Wildlife Capture Guide and, or the closest Authorized Wildlife Custodian, right away.

Wildlife Illness

Rabies

An acute viral disease of the nervous system of mammals that is caused by a rhabdovirus (species Rabies virus of the genus Lyssavirus) usually transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal and that is characterized typically by increased salivation, abnormal behaviour, and eventual paralysis and death when untreated.


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, these are considered Rabies Vector Species (RVS) in this province. 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.


Contact an Authorized Wildlife Custodian equipped to accept 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 Ministry or your local public health unit.

Distemper

A highly contagious viral disease of canines and especially of dogs that is caused by a morbillivirus (species Canine morbillivirus) and is marked by fever, leukopenia, and respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological symptoms


It can be very difficult to distinguish the symptoms of distemper from rabies, and both viruses affect similar species including raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. 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 as there is a risk of transfer if your pets vaccines are out of date. Take pictures and contact an Authorized Wildlife Custodian equipped to work with Rabies Vector Species (RVS) before approaching an animal you suspect is suffering from distemper.

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, especially those that frequent bird feeders, 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 what 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.

Pox (Squirrel/Avian)

There are many different types and strains of the Pox Virus, some that exclusively affect either squirrels or birds. Sores, lesions 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 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.

Avian Influenza

Wild birds and waterfowl are natural carriers of avian influenza viruses. These viruses typically cause little or no harm to wild birds and waterfowl. However, these viruses can spread to domestic poultry and, under certain circumstances, to people. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) are variants that cause mass disease and mortality in infected poultry.


Symptoms may include:

-nervousness, tremors or lack of coordination

-swelling around the head, neck and eyes

-lack of energy or movement

-coughing, gasping for air or sneezing

-diarrhea

-sudden death


If you have found one or more dead birds, especially waterfowl like ducks, or observed sick birds and suspect that disease may be involved, take pictures and contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1- 800-567-2033.


If contact can’t be avoided, wear thick gloves, a mask and use a towel or blanket to move the bird. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water and disinfect with bleach or discard any equipment used.

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus arrived in North America in 1999, and in a few years had spread across the continent. It has been extremely damaging to some bird populations, especially members of the corvid family (crows, ravens, jays, and magpies). The first human cases of WNV in Canada occurred in August, 2002.


Birds with visible symptoms of West Nile virus often die within a few days. Affected birds will often be fluffed out and stay low to the ground, or seem off balance and unable to stand.


If you have found one or more dead birds, especially if they are in the corvid family, or observed sick birds and suspect that disease may be involved, take pictures and contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1- 800-567-2033.


If contact can’t be avoided, wear thick gloves, a mask and use a towel or blanket to move the bird. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water and disinfect with bleach or discard any equipment used.


The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Exposure to WNV can be prevented by reducing mosquito development sites (i.e., standing water) and using personal protection against mosquitoes.

Parasites

Bot Fly Larvae

Cuterebra, or rodent bots, is a genus of flies that attack rodents and similar mammals. The name Cuterebra is a blend of the Latin words cutis: skin and terebra: borer. The larval stage is an internal parasite infection, growing in the host's flesh. 


Fairly commonly the host animal will survive for prolonged periods, though they may suffer from anemia, nutritional deficiencies and tissue damage. If the animal can be captured and contained safely, the larvae can be removed surgically. Improper removal technique can be fatal to the host and should never be attempted by anyone other than a veterinarian or Authorized Wildlife Custodian.


If you see an animal that you believe is suffering from a bot fly infestation, take pictures and contact us for next steps.

Ectoparasites (Ticks, Fleas, Flat Flies, Mites)

Most wild animals have a baseline of both internal and external parasites present, even when healthy. Adequate grooming practices help them cope, but an overload of parasites like ticks or mites may be a sign of a compromised immune system or underlying health issues.



If you see an animal that you believe is suffering from a parasite infestation, take pictures and contact us for next steps.

Mange

A common microscopic parasite that burrows beneath the skin causing intense irritation and can often lead to serious infections. Healthy and wild fur-bearing mammals often recover on their own from mild infections, but in severe cases or in animals that are compromised the infection can lead to life threatening secondary infections or starvation.


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 severe mange infections.


Severe cases will need veterinary treatment and medication, which can be very effective. Follow our Wildlife Capture Guide or contact an Authorized Wildlife Custodian authorized for the species you are concerned about.