I found a sick/injured sparrow

While feeding the ducks this morning, I came upon a fat little male house sparrow crouched on the sidewalk. I couldn’t let him lie there on the cold cement, so I brought him inside, put him in a box on a cloth (my graduation gown), and left water and mealworms within reach. (I tried to feed him water from a dropper, but he rebelled.) I am of course worried about him, and I don’t know how to take care of debilitated birds (I don’t know if he’s sick or hit a window), so if you have any suggestions please put them below. Soon.

Thanks.  Posting may be light today.


  1. Posted September 29, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Feed seeds, even cereals that you can wet a bit. It looks healthy and it does NOT look like a House Sparrow.

  2. Posted September 29, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    That is so nice of you 🙂
    Hope he gets better.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    “If you find an injured bird, call the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors hotline, 773-988-1867, or contact a wildlife center, to determine what you should do.

    • Posted September 29, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      I called them and they’re trying to arrange for somebody to pick up the bird. It’s fairly active but still debilitated. Thanks for the number.

  4. alexandra Moffat
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    google has much advice incl locations, names of wildlife rescuers – incl Chicago area

  5. Paul Techsupport
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Find a small box for the bird and put it in. Cover with a cloth.
    Cease trying to feed or water the bird. After a bit (10 minutes or so) take outside and see if it will fly away. If not, try again every 10-15 minutes for an hour. If still alive after an hour or so call your local Audubon chapter to locate a bird rehab organization or look online if they do not answer phone. I believe there is a bird rehab agency database online.

    If the bird survives shock for an hour it has a chance. Most do die from shock rather quickly. Window strike is number one killer I think.

    Hope this helps

  6. Mike Cracraft
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    We have birds crashing into our greenhouse now and then (mostly doves). If they break their necks, then that’s it. Most of the time they are disoriented and recover within 2 hours. If your bird suddenly starts flying around the room you know that it’s ready to be released (if you can catch it). Good luck.

  7. Frank Troy
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    A useful book is “Care of the Wild Feathered & Furred: A Guide to Wildlife Handling and Care” by Mae Hickman and Maxine Guy.

  8. Jon Mummaw
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Chicago Bird Colision Monitors (note space after first “a”)

  9. Posted September 29, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    “Chicago (Northerly Island)
    Address (Directions)
    1521 S. Linn White Drive
    Chicago, Illinois 60605

    Injured birds and injured small mammals (excluding skunks, bats and raccoons) are accepted without an appointment between the hours of 8:30 am and 10:30 am daily. We do, however, appreciate a courtesy call to (847)842-8000 prior to your arrival. This helps us plan our resources.”

    From: http://www.flintcreekwildlife.org/about/locations/

    — Sid s220@uchicago.edu

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Your post took me back to an essay I read in the 1970s in Esquire by Harry Crews, “The Hawk is Flying,” about how he found a wounded red-tailed hawk while out jogging one day. He took off a sweat sock, tore off the top, slipped it over the hawk, then took it home and nursed it back to health. (A spoken version of that essay can be found here.)

    I hadn’t thought about that Harry Crews piece in god-only-knows how long. Hadn’t thought about ol’ Harry, the late madman Southern Gothic novelist and essayist, for a long time either.

    Thanks for that.

  11. rickflick
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Sounds like you’ve been given a lot of sound advice. Good luck.

  12. Joseph OSullivan
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I used to work for a local chapter of the Audubon Society and we would get calls about injured birds every day. If the bird seems able to fend for itself put it up in tree or high place we’re it can’t be stepped on or eaten by a cat or dog. If the bird seems to be in worse shape put in a covered box or paper bag with a cloth or paper towel. I would call the number another person suggested earlier. At the Audubon we had a team of volunteers who would pick up birds and bring them to a vet/rehab group that specialized in wild birds.

  13. Posted September 29, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I’m not familiar with North American sparrows but it might be a song sparrow? Hard (for me) to tell from this angle. Hope it recovers and bravo for helping the little fellow.

  14. Posted September 29, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    It appears to be a female rose-breasted grosbeak, and, as the next post reports, it’s been picked up by a volunteer from the Chicago Bird Collision Project and taken out to the Willowbrook Wildlife Center for rehabilitation.

    • Diane G
      Posted September 30, 2018 at 1:33 am | Permalink

      I love it when a worrisome event’s been resolved by the time I read the post. 🙂

      I thought it looked like a R-b Grosbeak. Really nice birds!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 30, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        All things come to she who readeth the posts after the witching hour. 🙂

        • Diane G
          Posted September 30, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          Well, that’s what witches do. 😉

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 29, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Last year I found a blackbird crawling around on our lawn, drooping its wings – I assumed it had been mauled by a cat – so I left it alone to die in peace. After an hour it still hadn’t died and it appeared to be externally undamaged so I Googled and found a bird rescue place just three miles away. Put the bird in a box and took it to the sanctuary. They thought it might have been poisoned – we hadn’t put out snail bait recently but of course the neighbours could have, anyway I left it with the sanctuary. I think they just gave it water and left it in a warm quiet place to see if it would recover.

    Unlike PCC I was cautious not to put any valuable objects under the bird.


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