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Help for Hurt Hummingbird

Written by Michelle Kretzer | April 12, 2012

The elderly woman who called PETA’s national animal-emergency number thought that she was doing the right thing. When she discovered a baby bird in her yard who was unable to fly, she took him into her home and tried to feed him. Frustrated by the bird’s deteriorating condition, she called PETA to ask for advice.

Knowing that a bird who did not fly away from a person attempting to pick him or her up was most likely severely injured or ill, we let the woman know that despite her good intentions, the bird really needed to be assessed by a wildlife specialist.

The caller couldn’t drive, so a staffer from our Los Angeles office went out to pick up the baby bird and got the animal into the hands of a wildlife rehabilitator who determined that the baby was in fact severely injured and suffering and should be euthanized.

While people who try to help wild animals by themselves have wonderful intentions, they may inadvertently cause the animal more suffering by providing improper care. If you encounter a wild animal who appears to be hurt or in danger, stay near the animal, but call your local humane society or animal control officials for help. If they can’t provide assistance themselves, they may have names of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in your area. Keep the names and numbers in your address book for future reference.

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  • Zexto says:

    That was sweet of her

  • Kevin says:

    If you don’t know if there are owls in your neighborhood if there are ever birds chirping at night you probably do. They chirp to keep the owls away.

  • Alicia says:

    This information is very helpful. Thank you PETA! This bird is a lucky one.

  • Paul says:

    Amazing how cool they look when they are staying still haha Hope things work out.

  • Ursula says:

    I chased an adolescent duck around the top floor of our parking garage one night because I thought he was hurt and wanted to help. Turned out he was just resting mid-flight and I didn’t help matters by trying to catch and ‘help’ him. And there’s video…..everyone found it quite amuzing.

  • Kathleen says:

    Oh gosh! This reminds me of the time there was a baby sparrow in my yard, (sadly, I wasn’t home to intervene) My grandfather was here and my parents were in the house, anyways make a long story short- Grandpa tried to help the baby bird by feeding him a slug, BIG NO-NO…The poor animals mouth got glued together because of the secretion of the slug, and died very shortly, I don’t blame the my grandpa because he is old and doesn’t have internet (and well, lol he is old and comes from a very different era) he has know knowledge of helping an animal in distress…but let this be a cautionary tale for people who *THINK* they know what to do. Happy story- there was a another baby bird the same year ( I was home for this one) I was watering my garden and all of sudden, I look down and a little sparrow was standing right next to me, that’s odd for a bird to be that close…I knew instantly it was a baby and thought he was attracted to me because I was watering, and turns out the little baby was thirsty, so the bird takes a drink…starts hopping around, and about 10 minutes later, literally flew right to me, he gripped into my shirt and wouldn’t let go..(cutest thing I ever seen) that point though, I thought something could be wrong, so I gently sat down with him and he was with me for a few minutes and he started to fly, a little bit at a time, then he really FLEW! I was so happy he was ok…(just wanted to share that…lol)

  • Veganchan says:

    Wow. You’re doing an incredible job. I hope (s)he will recover. I’m gathering vegan and animal related information on my blog, please check it out:

  • GeorgiaGigi says:

    Sweet she tried to help, but call for expert help! Adorable bird.

  • lovebunnies says:

    This is a great article – there are so many wildlife babies this time of year. People see them on the ground and think they need to try and “help” them, with good intentions, but that can be disastrous. Some dont need any help at all – mama is nearby!