If You Find an Injured Bird
It's important to act quickly to contain a bird before it moves out of reach or something harms it.
- Place the bird in a clean unwaxed paper bag or cardboard box of appropriate size, with paper toweling flat on the bottom.
- Fold the top of the bag down 1 inch, then fold again and secure the top with a paper clip. Secure the lid of the box with tape.
- Place the bag or box in a safe, dark, quiet place, away from extreme heat or cold.
- Call the CBCM hotline 773 988-1867 to arrange help for the bird. (If you get a recording, leave a message stating the time, your name, a number where you can be reached, and the location and condition of the bird.)
- DO NOT put food or water in the bag or box.
- DO NOT poke holes in the bag or box.
- NEVER open the bag or box to check on the bird.
- NEVER take a bird that is not in a closed bag or box into a building
- As soon as possible, transport the bird to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center.
IMPORTANT: If you find a bird trapped or tangled in fishing line/string/netting go to our entanglement page.
Other Rescue Information:
If you cannot pick up and contain the bird, make an attempt to move it to a protected area away from further harm; such as under a bush, or away from the street or sidewalk.
Once the bird is secured in a bag or box, do not be tempted to check on the bird! Opening the bag or box stresses the bird, offers the possibility for escape, and puts the bird at risk for further injury. Escaped birds can become trapped inside a building or be impossible to recapture.
Birds can breathe adequately in a closed unwaxed paper bag or cardboard box. Air holes are not necessary and can allow some birds to escape. Never place birds in plastic bags or containers.
Birds are more likely to stay still and quiet in a darkened environment. Covering the bag or box helps block out light.
Do not try to care for an injured bird yourself. It needs specialized care. It is against federal law to keep a migratory or native bird without specialized training and permits.
While it is also illegal to keep a dead migratory bird, these specimens do have value. If you have found a dead migratory bird and can connect to one of our downtown monitors during the spring and fall season, it can be added to the birds we take to the Field Museum.
Contact with wildlife can involve exposure to diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Take any and all precautions to safeguard your health whenever handling birds.