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Blu's avatar

What to do about an injured baby robin?

Asked by Blu (215points) July 5th, 2012

In my backyard there have been a nest of robins and recently all the babies have been flying away. Except one.

The “runt of the litter” wasn’t quite ready to fly but was forced to evacuate the nest due to an ant invasion. Unfortunately, some of the material that the robins used to make the nest was some sort of string/fishing line and it caught the baby robin’s foot leaving him dangling.

I eventually went ahead and cut him free (he was on a wooden board at this point that I had moved under him for support so that perhaps he or his parents could get him free, which they failed to do) and he’s been hopping around on the ground since with the leg that was caught dragging behind him and possibly with a damaged wing. So is there anything else I can do for the little guy? His parents are still hanging around and taking care of him but I feel it’s only a matter of time before they leave him.

Thank you for your help.

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10 Answers

raspberryjenn's avatar

I recommend watching for a bit longer to see if the mother eventually helps the poor little guy. If she doesn’t come to his aid within a few hours, I would take him into a veterinarian. Most clinics will take him, care for him, and release him back into the wild for free. At the very least, they will be able to assess his situation and give you advice on how to proceed.

I took an injured pigeon into my local clinic last year (he had been hit by two cars, was bleeding through his eyes and was in shock…) and they took him in, gave him excellent care, and released him in a safe location.

You might want to call around before you just show up with the robin though, as some places don’t treat avian issues.

Thanks for helping! I’ll bet the little robin will appreciate it. :-)

wundayatta's avatar

You can pick up the bird and put it in a small box and care for it, according to this site. You can feed robins tinned cat or dog food, preferably beef for robins; small pieces of earthworm can also be offered on the end of a toothpick.

You should check the internet to see if there is a bird rescue center in your area. You can then transport the baby to this center and they can take care of it.

gondwanalon's avatar

You have done enough. The best thing to do now is to do nothing more than watch, wait and hope for the best outcome.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think, as @gondwanalon has alluded but not actually said in so many words, the kindest thing you could do for this creature at this time would be to make the end quick and merciful. Take it to a vet and ask them to do the necessary, and then give it a nice little ceremony in the back yard with a shoe box and all the trimmings.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

My vote is to to let the family alone since the parents are still caring for it. Just monitor the situation. If the parents desert it and/or there is any chance that it will be attacked by predators, like a cat, then take it to an animal shelter or wildlife preserve. If you decide to take care of it yourself, then follow @wundayatta‘s advice.

Dad brought home a wounded Cardinal with a broken wing and leg. We were able to take care of it until it healed, other than the leg, which shriveled up, so it was clipped off. The bird was later released back into the wild. Don’t give up hope for the little one.

Blondesjon's avatar

We’ve had two ‘baby robin on the ground this year’. I have always been told that trying to help actually does more harm than good so I’ve done nothing more than keep the cat and the dogs away from the bird. It’s been 50–50 so far. One survived with help from it’s Mother and the other died.

You were right to cut the bird down. There is nothing wrong with making sure an animal isn’t suffering.

gailcalled's avatar

We have here a volunteer animal rescue shelter. They take all wounded or abandoned birds animals, other than cats and dogs, tend to and rehab them. Try your yellow pages.

bewailknot's avatar

We have an avian rescue organization here, too. They are not listed in the phone book but the local vets know how to reach them. Some injured birds can never return to the wild but that doesn’t mean they must die.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, look for a local wildlife rescue. You cannot fix a broken leg or wing on your own and the fledgling is at high risk for being preyed upon by cats and other things if left on the ground.
Research the rescue groups in your area. I was a volunteer for 5 years with our local group and they have the means and the vets available to cope with his injury if they think he is re-releasable.

Keep him WDQ warm, dark and quiet and do not house him on terry cloth where his claws will become stuck. Put him in a box or laundry basket with paper towels, do not attempt to feed him or force water down him and get him to a rescue asap.
You never feed stressed out and most likely dehydrated animals without first hydrating them and this is not for amatuers, birds can easily aspirate liquids in the hands of a novice trying to “help.”

Coloma's avatar

P.S. It is completely untrue that birds will abandon their young if they are handled. Birds have a very poor sense of smell except for seabirds and vultures. This is a major myth that often prevents people from attempting to put babies back in their nests or touching them when they need help.

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