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Emergency Care Guidelines for Wild Injured and Ill House Sparrows

These are guidelines to follow if  you find an injured or ill wild house sparrow.  The most important thing to remember is that birds stress out very easily so keeping calm and keeping the bird in a quiet darkened box is the place to start.  

Injury
Keep an injured wild bird quiet and in a darkened well padded box.
Assess injury and stop bleeding with pressure.  Clean an open wound  with warm water and a soft cloth or cotton.  
Examine the rest of the bird for additional areas of concern.  
Seek veterinary care if injury is more complicated than requiring minor first aid.  
Impact accidents can cause minor stunning where some birds will be completely down but recover within an hour.  More severe head trauma needs more intensive care with antiinflammatory medications, antibiotics, and fluids.  
Eye injuries are very serious and should be seen by a veterinarian if at all possible.  
When wild birds are injured, they need to be assessed before release is considered.  If unable to be released, some sparrows will adapt to life in captivity.  Others are stressed and unhappy and might be better off being humanely euthanized.  
Illness
Sparrows in the wild live an average of one to two years.  Over 50% of baby birds don't make it to their first birthday due to predators, injury, parasites, and viral diseases.  Bitter cold winters and scorching hot summer heat are stressful and cause many birds to succumb to viruses and parasites.  
With good nutrition and a safe environment, house birds can live in excess of 10 years.  Some House Sparrows in houses come down with a variety of illnesses and some are treatable.  
There are specific medications that target parasites and bacterial infections.  A fecal sample can pinpoint an intestinal parasite to treat with appropriate medication and environmental changes.  A bacterial culture determines which antibiotic to use.  
Egg binding is common in captive birds.  It can potentially be prevented by supplying a good calcium source.  If an egg gets stuck, lubricants and intensive care with fluids and antibiotics is helpful.  Collapsing an egg with a needle inserted thru the vent is effective in cases where the egg will not pass.  
Metabolic disesase such as liver and kidney failure, heart disease, and cancer occur as well.  These diseases are difficult to diagnose without a blood sample, radiographs, and of course, a good physical exam to start with.  
Overall, House Sparrows are so small that invasive procedures aren't generally an option.  External masses, feather issues, and orthopedic problems can be addressed.   Many avian veterinarians are available to treat "pet" house sparrows.  Wild birds should be taken to a licensed wildlife rehabiliator for an evaluation.  
I find that a conservative approach is best for a sick House Sparrow.  They are just so small that getting too aggressive and invasive poses too great a risk.  Fluids, antibiotics like clavamox and baytril, and antiinflammatory medication like metacam are safe and treat a wide range of illnesses in House Sparrows.  
Of course, there are some conditions that require invasive measures and those must be dealt with on an individual basis.
 
 
Resources and Links
 
 
passerdomesticus@yahoogroups.com
 
A yahoo chat group made up of House Sparrow people who share experiences and stories about their house sparrows.  The page is a good resource for those that find orphaned and injured birds.  
 
House Sparrows in My House on Facebook
 
This facebook page is related to this website.  A large community of House Sparrow fans, and families contribute to the page with pictures and information for those with questions and interest in House Sparrows.  
 
Starling Talk
 
Starling Talk is a website dedicated to the welfare and care of the European Starling.  Since Starlings and House Sparrows are nonnative species, they are not protected by federal wildlife laws.  Many wildlife rehabilitators do not accept them for care.  Both species happen to be social and adapt well to living indoors with people.  The Starling Talk website is packed with important information about raising, feeding, releasing, and keeping Starlings and House Sparrows.   
 
Foster Parrots 
 
Foster Parrots is a sanctuary and rescue for parrots and other wild birds.  The organization is active in worldwide parrot protectionand habitat conservation.  
 
Cornell Ornithology
 
American Bird Conservancy
 
NYC Baby Bird Rescue
 
NYC Baby Bird Rescue is dedicated to helping fallen and found baby Pigeons, House Sparrows, and Starlings.  
 
High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehab
 
Farm Sanctuary
 
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
 
Edgars Mission
 
 
 

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