What should I do with this House Sparrow I found outside?

My wife and I just found a House Sparrow sitting outside of our house in the yard. She won’t walk, but she appears to be alert. She won’t fly, but her wings and legs appear to be uninjured. I was able to pick her up (wearing gloves, of course) and she didn’t struggle at all. I tried giving her some water, but it didn’t seem to help her. Is there anything else I can do for her? The vet will just put her to sleep if I bring her there.



Sounds like a possible stun form hitting a window - just put her somewhere safe and dark for a while and see if she can fly later.

If you’re really worried and you don’t think she is getting better, you can find an avian vet.

My dog injured a pigeon a couple years ago (a homing pigeon, with a tag and all) and his wing was broken. I called around and found a vet about 20 minutes away that specialized in birds. Yes, I paid to have the little guy’s wing set in a little birdy cast :slight_smile:

Can you tell if it’s a fledgling or adult? An adult will probably pick itself up and leave on its own when it is ready, but a fledgling is less likely to. I know it sounds scary and risky, but put it in a strawberry basket (the ones that supermarket berries come in) and tie it in a tree branch and try to keep an eye on it if you can. A parent birdie may come by and collect it. If you’re intent on keeping it so it doesn’t get hurt, put a dry towel in a warm, dark place and let it nest there. Try to feed it seeds, tiny pieces of fresh fruit, and bugs (meal worms, crickets…available at pet stores) with a tweezer and water with an eye-dropper. If it won’t eat, though, there’s not much you can do for it besides wishing it luck and trying to get it to fly away outdoors.

(slight hijack)
I took in a young fledgling Thrush/Wren (I can’t tell what she is!) about five weeks ago and she’s doing much better that I thought she would. Baby animals die of shock very easily, so I was thrilled when she took food and started flying. I’m pretty sure she was kicked out of the nest because she has poor eyesight, so she’s staying with me for now on. I don’t usually think it’s ethical to keep a wild animal, but she wasn’t really meant to live and I have taken her out of the gene pool… She wouldn’t be able to earn birdie-type behaviors, like bug-caching and nest-building and such, without her parents, right?

Best of luck with your Sparrow!

Oh! I forgot-- The whole thing about mother birds rejecting their young if they smell human on them is untrue; most songbirds have a very weak sense of smell.
Also, if it has any wound, it may seem alright but birds can die days later from a tiny bite from a cat or dog due to foreign bacteria in the saliva, IIRC.

Thanks for the responses, everyone.

It was definitely an adult. We called a few vets, but they said that they would just euthanize her. We thought that maybe she was overheated, because it was pretty hot out today. We would have brought her into the air conditioned house, but we have a Parrotlet and didn’t want to expose him to any diseases she might have, so I thought to put her in my car with the A/C on. She didn’t seem any better after a few minutes, so we just put her in the shade in the backyard with access to water. I checked on her about and hour ago and she was dead. Oh well, we did what we could.


If she had West Nile virus, there wouldn’t have been anything an avian vet could have done for her anyway.

Speaking of West Nile virus, should Flying provide the corpse to local health authorities?

I know around here, nobody is taking any potential WNV birdy corpses any more. They figured “yup, it’s here all right”, and then they stopped tracking it.

(West Nile is more likely found in the Corvids - jays, crows and ravens, etc. and maybe birds of prey than any other type of birds - I don’t think they would test a sparrow.)