What to do if you find an injured raptor: Eagle, Hawk, Falcon, Owl, Vulture
for injured birds of prey, please CONTACT
If you find an injured or downed raptor in the state of Nebraska, please call the toll-free rescue hotline for the Raptor Conservation Alliance at (866) 888-7261 or visit their website at rcabirds.org. Please leave a voicemail if the call is not answered and a member of their staff will respond as quickly as possible.
You may also contact the nearest Nebraska Games & Parks Conservation Officer, your local Humane Society, or local law enforcement.
When to Observe
Sometimes, a well-intentioned member of the public happens upon a young raptor (or other wildlife) and by instinct they want to pick up the animal believing it is orphaned, not realizing the parents are watching.
In reality, intervening is not always in the best interest of the animal. Before removing a young bird or other wildlife from its home, observe and watch to determine if parents are returning with food. A young raptor’s best chance of survival is to be raised by its parents in the wild. If the youngster’s parents are still providing food, leave the bird alone. If the young raptor is in immediate danger from predators such as cats and dogs, try placing it on a higher branch off the ground.
When to Take Action/Call
- The bird is obviously injured, a wing is drooping, you see blood, or the bird is lying on the ground, is trapped, or caught in something, e.g. barbed wire or other fence/netting.
- The bird is in obvious danger from a predator or in danger of being captured by one.
- There are hazards nearby like busy roads or large pools of water.
- The parents have been killed or seriously injured.
- The bird has its eyes closed and does not respond to your presence.
Who to contact
If determined that a raptor needs help, please contact the Raptor Conservation Alliance’s raptor hotline at (866) 888-7261 for further assistance. Please do not try to handle a raptor by yourself unless instructed to do so. Injured birds and other wildlife will not realize you are trying to help and will try to get away and/or see you as a threat and attack or injure you.
Non-raptor bird (and other wildlife) rescue
Found an animal other than a raptor?
Similar to the raptor guidelines above, in many instances what appears to be injured or orphaned wildlife may actually be fine and not in need of assistance. However, that is not always the case. If you found an animal that is injured or orphaned, please contact one of the organizations below for further guidance.
Nebraska Wildlife Rehabilitation takes many types of wild animals in need of help. If you find non-raptor birds or other wildlife that are in need of help, please call Nebraska Wildlife Rehabilitation at 402-234-2473. Learn what to do if you find a wild animal by visiting their website at nebraskawildliferehab.org.
Nebraska Humane Society is another resource for injured wildlife. You can contact them via phone at (402) 444-7800 or via their website at nehumanesociety.org.
Douglas/Sarpy County Extension Office: Call 402-444-7804 or visit their website at Extension.unl.edu.
Please bear in mind that the Raptor Conservation Alliance is a specialty organization that only cares for birds of prey. They are not equipped to accept other non-raptor birds or wildlife.