From time to time you may come across a sick bird in your garden, or even when you're out walking in the park. If you feel that a bird is in serious need of help, as it is sick, injured or orphaned, you can contact your local RSPCA wildlife centre for assistance.

Although, if you do not have a centre nearby you should get in touch with a wildlife rehabilitator. You can find your local wildlife rehabilitator's details by visiting the RSPCA website.

If you have to handle a sick or dead bird, then do this with care and hygiene — as there is always a small chance that infections can spread from sick birds. Diseases such as salmonella and E coli can be passed on to both us humans and our pets. So always use protective gloves and thoroughly wash your hands and forearms as soon as you have finished touching the bird. Never let your pets play with or eat sick or dead birds — and remember to worm your pet regularly should they be a fan of hunting.

If you are concerned about a wild bird that appears to be sick, please consult a vet or the RSPCA to consider what option is best for the bird's welfare.

Baby wild birds

Spring and summer means more baby birds — this is the time of year when your wild birds will nest and raise their young. You may find that you come across young birds sitting on the ground or moving around without any sign of their parents. This is totally normal, so don't be worried and don't try to help the baby. The parents are probably away gathering food, or hiding in the bushes and trees keeping an eye on their young. Wherever you find a baby bird, the parents will never be too far away and they will normally see to their baby once you have moved away.

Most young wild birds spend a day or two out of the nest before they are fully feathered and able to fly, so they'll spend a little time on the ground. So it is always best to leave the baby bird where it is.

You should only move a baby bird if it is clearly injured or abandoned. If it is covered in fluffy down, then it will have fallen out of a nest by accident, so you may have to return it to where it belongs. If you cannot find their nest, then the baby will be dependant on you to help it, so take it straight to a vet. 

Important: All birds, nests and eggs are protected by law so that the birds have the best chances of survival. So do not disturb or upset a birds nest.