Learn the Signs of a Sick or Dying Bird

A wild bird cannot know when it is sick. However, bird watchers who know how to recognize sick birds can take steps to prevent the spread of disease at their feeders, as well as helping sick birds speed up their recovery.

But how do you know exactly when a bird is sick?

Birds can succumb to many different illnesses and injuries, and often a sick bird won't go anywhere near backyard feeders.

However, when a sick bird appears, there are two ways to recognize it: by appearance and by behavior.

Recognize sick birds by appearance

Not all sick birds show symptoms of a disease, but those that do can be easily recognized.

A healthy bird looks clean and complete, often looking like a field guide or nature photograph. Their feathers will be in place, their posture alert, and their eyes clear and intelligent.

Sick birds, however, can have several symptoms, such as:

  • Dull and unfocused eyes
  • Feathers fluttering or wrinkled when it's not cold
  • Puffy eyes or wax-like membranes.
  • Moist or crusted eyes, mouth, or nose
  • Dirty and tangled feathers
  • Missing feathers
  • Visible injuries, injuries, or wounds

Although physical appearance can be a clear indication of illness, symptoms can be difficult to see in small birds and some birds may not exhibit any physical symptoms. In such cases, the bird's behavior is the best way to assess its health.

Recognize sick birds by behavior

A healthy bird is lively and alert, always active for feeding, grooming, or any other way of doing what birds do.

Even if a bird is not very mobile, it will be looking around and will usually have clues about its surroundings if it is healthy and will react if it feels threatened.

A sick bird, on the other hand, may exhibit unusual behavior, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing, blowing or panting.
  • Reluctance or inability to fly properly
  • Excessive drinking
  • Sitting very still, even when they get close
  • Hanging wings or sloppy and unstable posture.
  • Perching in open areas, including on porches or patios
  • Limping
  • Main list on one side
  • Squinting or appearing to fall asleep
  • Being pampered by other obviously healthy birds

Not all birds showing these types of symptoms are necessarily sick, but the behavior is unusual enough to warrant caution if the birds are sick.

How to help birds heal

It can be difficult for bird watchers to witness sick birds at their feeders, but the disease is a natural part of the bird life cycle.

The strongest birds will bounce back, while the weaker birds will succumb. To help birds have the strength to recover, observers can:

  • Keep feeders clean to minimize spread to other birds
  • Provides high oil fresh seeds for extra energy.
  • Offer a variety of other healthy foods like nuts and fruits.
  • Keep the feeding area safe from predators that can catch unsuspecting birds.
  • Provide clean groundwater dishes and birdbaths for the birds to drink
  • Dispose of dead birds properly to prevent the spread of disease

By recognizing sick birds and reacting accordingly, bird watchers can minimize illness in their backyard flocks and help sick birds recover to the best of their ability.

We hope you like this video about how to recognize a sick bird:

Source: Alen AxP

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