Raptor Rehab Center under development...
Target Opening:
Early 2019!

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Injured raptor? Call Owl Moon Raptor Center: 301-353-8947
Maryland Raptor Rescue. Rescue. Rehabilitate. Release. Research. Educate.
Cooper's Hawk

Have you found an injured, sick, or orphaned raptor?

  1. Please do not attempt to rehabilitate a raptor on your own. Always contact a licensed professional. If you are unsure of who to notify, please contact Owl Moon Raptor Center at 301-353-8947. Alternately, consider appropriate agencies in your area:

    • The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
    • Maryland (or your state's) Department of Natural Resources (in some states, the Department of Game, Fish, and Parks)
    • Your local sheriff's office
  2. If you must handle or move a bird, first cover the bird with a blanket or towel to reduce its visual stimulation, and protect yourself by wearing heavy gloves and safety glasses. Then, gently fold the bird's wings into its body with your two gloved hands. Gently but firmly lift the bird into a transport container. Remember: Even a seriously injured raptor is potentially dangerous. Wild birds do not understand that we are trying to help and will defend themselves. They are quite unpredictable, and you should be especially aware of their sharp beak and talons.
  3. The best way to transport a raptor is in a sturdy cardboard box with a folded flat-sheet or thick cloth in bottom (if a towel is used, it should be a non-terry-cloth, snag-free towel) and with top closed, and loosely covered by a towel or sheet to minimize light and noise entering the box. If a box is not available, a plastic dog or cat kennel may also be used. Avoid bird or wire cages, as these can cause feather and soft tissue damage. The box or carrier should have plenty of ventilation holes and should only be slightly larger than the size of the bird. The less room an injured bird has to move around, the less likely it is to cause more injury to itself. However, on the flip side, if a container is too small, a bird can sustain extensive wing and feather damage.
  4. Never feed an injured raptor unless you have been instructed to do so by a licensed rehabilitator. The dietary needs of raptors are more delicately balanced than people realize. Even the juiciest steak imaginable will not provide a raptor with what it needs. Also, most injured birds are suffering from dehydration, and attempting to feed them or give them water orally may worsen their condition. If a bird has not eaten for a while, its digestive system shuts down and it cannot handle any food. In a rehabilitation facility, these patients are given a special fluid therapy for a day or two to jump-start their systems before any type of food is provided.
  5. Handle an injured raptor as little as possible. Stress resulting from human contact can reduce a bird's chance of recovery.
  6. Until the bird can be transferred, provide it with a dark, quiet, calm, warm environment. Darkness has a calming effect on birds. Extra care should be taken to keep the bird away from children and pets.
  7. Do not keep a raptor any longer than is necessary to get it to a veterinary professional, raptor rehabilitator, or state/federal wildlife representative.
  8. *The above is reprinted, with permission, from The Raptor Center, University of Minnesota, with minor alterations by Maryland Raptor Rescue, Inc.

    It is a violation of state and federal law for members of the public to hold most species of wild birds in captivity. Improper diet or medical care can do permanent damage in a very short period of time. "Good Samaritans" are permitted to rescue birds in distress, but must transfer them immediately to a properly permitted rehabilitator. Rehabilitation permits are not a mere legal formality - they are issued to people who have completed extensive (2 years, minimum) hands-on training, demonstrated knowledge regarding proper nutrition, husbandry, injury, parasites, disease, etc. and who have appropriate housing facilities.