What to do if you find a bird in bad shape

The so-called cave birds suffer from the heat and struggle to find food. The refuge Hirondelle broke its reception records. 4600 birds have already been saved and many more had to die due to lack of care. What should you do if you find a bird in pain?

Its plumage is black, its silhouette resembles a small crossbow, its legs are very short, and its claws are sharp to cling to the walls… The black swift is the “big wounded” in the middle of the care of wild animals, L’Hirondelle in Saint-Forgeux in the Rhône.

Under no circumstances try to raise a young animal yourself. Leave it to the professionals. Additionally: Keeping a wild animal in captivity is against the law.

If you discover an animal in danger: put it in a closed box, quiet and warm. Do not give him food or drink or try to treat him. If the animal is likely to pose a danger to your safety, do not handle it.

If it is a very lively baby bird that is already feathered, put it a little high, on a branch or in a small open box, near the place where you found it to protect it from harm, a possible predator. Even if he was manipulated, his parents will take him back in charge. On the other hand, you must not stay close, so as not to scare them away! If he is too young, weak or injured, contact a shelter.
Like the appearance of swallows, swallows spend their lives in flight: they only accidentally find themselves on the ground and are unable to leave on their own. Support from the health center is necessary in all cases.

In addition to 34°C, the temperature feeling under the roof is another 10°C and can go up to 50°C… Like an oven, a real sauna

Adeline Audibert, volunteer at “martin pole”

“When it’s too hot, the little shrews suffocate and seek coolness, so they rush into the void or fall from the nest,” continues this apodidae enthusiast, who promises to get a tattoo on his back.

The population of this species is “in decline”, even “extremely endangered”, warns Adeline, who has seen the center recover between 800 and 900 storm wildebeests per year and welcome 200 more individuals this year compared to 2021. This due of increasingly stronger heat waves from year to year, but also due to the scarecrows’ lack of food, insects become increasingly rare “when it’s very hot or very cold”, adds the caretaker.

Presented as one of the largest care centers in France in terms of the number of individuals treated (approximately 7,000 care per year of 130 different species, including 80% birds and 20% mammals), restores, treats and releases all injured wildlife reported to him in the Rhône, Loire, Drôme and Ardèche departments.

“A real Samu for animals”, compares the association’s development manager, Anne Fourier, explaining that volunteers can move to recover injured wildlife from “discoverers”, people who called them to rescue animals in bad shape.

The June heat wave was “very deadly”, “it broke records in terms of reception”, indicates the 37-year-old volunteer, a member of the association since 2013. “Since the beginning of the year, we have welcomed more than 4,600 animals, including 1,600 in June”, says this great enthusiast, who remembers the “hell” that the center had experienced during the heat wave of 2019. It had to close its doors after reaching the maximum of its capabilities.

Cave dwellers, the house swallow, the blackbird, the black robin or the house sparrow are also “strongly affected” by the heat. After 90 swallows received in 2021, 63 have already been processed in mid-2022.
For sparrows, 233 from January to July 2022 against 181 on the same date in 2021 and 97 against 56 for black redstarts. “When we have a peak in temperatures, we double the arrival of animals”, indicates Pascal Tavernier, the director of the center since its creation in 1998, the sign. However, the keepers expected to receive even more birds, the 45-year-old man acknowledges. “It surely means that the heat is so strong that they were already dead”.

The increase in support is also explained by the development of mentality, assures Mr. Tavernier. “People are more sensitive to the plight of animals than before”. Eva Lamourette, 24, is proof of this. Originally from Valencia, she called the center on Tuesday for a young black hazel. “He was on the ground and not moving, he must have been dehydrated,” the discoverer said. “I love animals and I would have had a very bad conscience if I had not done anything, it is not possible to let an animal die in the middle of a dodger”, explains the young woman in professional retraining.

Because of the heat, the center receives almost 200 calls from discoverers a day, “a huge workload and logistics”, describes Anne Fourier.

“At some point, the species that cannot stand the heat will no longer be there”, worries Pascal Tavernier on his side.

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