Found an injured vulture?

So, you found a vulture in need of help. What do you do?
On this page, we will try to lay out the basic steps you should take in keeping the bird safe, while you find a local rehabilitator.

ORPHANED VULTURES

1. ASSESS THE SITUATION. Does the bird really need your help? Remember: American vultures DO NOT nest in trees. They lay their eggs on the ground, in caves, hollow logs or other cavelike structures. Sometimes the nest (which doesn’t appear nestlike at all) will be a simple dip, scratched into the ground, seemingly out in the open. Many hikers who happen upon such a nest believe that they have discovered a hawk that has fallen from its nest. If you see any evidence of nesting activity, you have probably stumbled on a nestling waiting for his parents to return with food. The best clue that you have discovered a nest is the presence of multiple babies. Please leave them be, unless one or more appear visibly injured.

2. CONTACT A REHABILITATOR.
Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator immediately. The bird will require special care from a trained professional, and it is illegal for an unlicensed individual to posess or care for a vulture for more than 24 hours.
You can search for a local wildlife rehabber on this site:
http://wildliferehabber.com/

Once you know there is a licensed rehabber or a wildlife center in your area, you can take measures to capture and confine your vulture.

3. CONFINE THE VULTURE. If you are confident that your baby vulture is hurt or truly lost, pick him up carefully and place him in a covered box lined with towels. Vultures more than a few weeks old will have developed aggressive defense responses, which involve hissing, biting, and clawing. You can use a towel to catch the bird. Simply toss it over the vulture’s head, and hold the wings against the body. Even if the bird is weak, young, or unagressive, you should wear gloves or use a towel to protect you from disease-carrying bacteria.
Keep the vulture somewhere warm and dark until he can be transported to a wildlife rehabilitator.
NOTE: You will most likely have to capture and transport the bird yourself. Most wildlife rehabilitators are volunteers who work in small facilities with minimal staff. Due to the perpetual care required by their job, they are usually unable to leave the center to rescue or transport animals in need of care.

INJURED VULTURES

1. ASSESS THE SITUATION. Can the bird still fly? If it can fly, you will probably not be able to capture the vulture. Sometimes, however, after a few days, an injury will cause the bird to become too weak to fly. At this point he can be captured and transported to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

2. CONTACT A REHABILITATOR.
Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator immediately. The bird will require special care from a trained professional, and it is illegal for an unlicensed individual to posess or care for a vulture for more than 24 hours.
You can search for a local wildlife rehabber on this site:
http://wildliferehabber.com/

Once you know there is a licensed rehabber or a wildlife center in your area, you can take measures to capture and confine your vulture.

3. CAPTURE AND CONFINE THE VULTURE. Once you have located an individual who can care for the vulture, prepare yourself for a capture mission. Vultures are surprisingly capable runners, and may present you with quite a chase.
Prepare yourself ahead of time with a small cardboard box or dog carrier. The
smaller the box, the better. Tight spaces will actually keep the bird calmer than a large box where he can bounce around and hurt himself.
Capture the vulture by first surrounding him with a wall of people holding blankets or
sheets. Preferably, corner him toward the building. Then, throw a large blanket over him, press his wings to his sides and place him in the box. Watch out for the curved end of the beak. If you wear a pair of work gloves and a jacket you will be fine.
A note: when you first startle the vulture by surrounding him, he will cough up a vile smelling chunk of semi-digested food. He will not, however, “projectile vomit.”
Keep the vulture somewhere warm and dark until he can be transported to a wildlife rehabilitator.
NOTE: You will most likely have to capture and transport the bird yourself. Most wildlife rehabilitators are volunteers who work in small facilities with minimal staff. Due to the perpetual care required by their job, they are usually unable to leave the center to rescue or transport animals in need of care.

LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATORS

In order to care for a vulture, individuals must qualify for and posess a federal permit (from the US Department of Fish and Wildlife). These individuals are called Wildlife Rehabilitators. To keep their federal permits, these rehabilitators must maintain appropriate facilities for vulture care, and fulfill several hours of coursework each year.

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