News & Blog
How do you save a wounded bird ?
We have the immense pleasure of introducing you to our partner: SOS Wildlife Refuge! We have chosen this association, and we donate 1% of our revenue to them. This association takes care of injured wild birds with the goal of treating them and then releasing them into their natural environment...
Q: Hello, I'll let you introduce yourself and explain what your refuge is all about? :)
"Hello, my name is Aurélie, and I have been the director of the SOS Wildlife Refuge for 12 years now. The objective of the refuge is to take care of injured wild birds."
Q: What are the different species that you rescue?
Aurélie: "All bird species are rescued, except for species that may cause damage (see regulations). We have very common species like robins, tits, jackdaws, and some rarer ones like the booted eagle, the bittern, the scops owl..."
Q: What is the most common type of injury in birds, and what advice do you have to prevent them?
Aurélie: "Unfortunately, it's quite challenging. Most accidents involve nighttime vehicle collisions. If you encounter an animal on the road, flashing your headlights blinds it. The best thing to do is to pull over and let the animal move away."
Q: What should someone do if they find an injured or distressed bird?
Aurélie: "If you are in the Limousin region, you should contact us. Otherwise, the French Biodiversity Agency (OFB), which has the phone numbers of rescue centers, can redirect you."
Q: Where does the money come from to finance the care and food?
Aurélie: "90% of the money comes from donations from individuals! Without their support, we simply could not exist..."
Q: How can we help you?
Aurélie: "Through regular donations to finance veterinary bills, purchase food, and medical equipment... Or material donations: a list is available on the sosfaunesauvage.fr website. For every order on our e-shop, 1% is donated to support the initiatives of this association."
Q: What are the first aid steps to take for an injured bird?
Aurélie: "You should place it in a cat transport crate or a small box with fabric at the bottom to prevent slipping. Keep it in a quiet room at room temperature. In hot weather, do not leave it outside, as it will literally cook, and in winter, do not leave it outside, as it will become a 'mister freeze'!"
Q: When it's hot, can I put a little water on its head and give it something to drink?
Aurélie: "I do not recommend it. Some birds should definitely not be given water this way! The best thing to do is to keep them calm. Birds are very timid animals. Minimize handling, call the center, and do not do anything. We explain the correct steps on our website: https://www.sosfaunesauvage.fr/animal-bless%C3%A9/. You should not give them water directly in their beak, as the esophagus and trachea are hard to differentiate in birds, and well-intentioned attempts might cause drowning. You can leave a small dish of water available; they will know how to drink if they're thirsty."
Q: What area does your center cover?
Aurélie: "We cover Creuse, Corrèze, Haute Vienne, parts of the Lot, Indre, and Dordogne. We receive birds every day, and during peak periods, up to 50 arrivals per day!"
Q: What actions do you take with your residents?
Aurélie: "We provide what we call nursing care, and the most significant treatment we do ourselves is sutures. In the case of surgery, we always involve a veterinarian, as it is a medical procedure."
Q: What do the rescued birds eat?
Aurélie: "It depends on the species in question! A bit of everything, really: seeds, insects, fish, small mammals... We always have a 5-day supply in advance for each individual. We make sure to provide them with the exact same diet they would find in the wild."
Q: Are they fed every day?
Aurélie: "There are different approaches; some centers do not feed every day because wild birds do not eat every day, so fasting will not harm them. But I think, if I'm in the hospital, I need strength! :) So here, we choose to feed them daily."
Q: Are birds naturally very stressed animals?
Aurélie: "It depends! Some are very, very calm, and they let us handle them without protest. Then there are bundles of nerves... You have to be very gentle and attentive to them. The most difficult species are woodpeckers: green woodpeckers, hoopoes, great spotted woodpeckers, etc. They can literally give you a heart attack during treatment! However, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' truth. Some individuals naturally prone to stress can also be very relaxed, and vice versa. The bird's character also plays a significant role."
Q: Can't you pet them?
Aurélie: "No, you can't! Even though the urge to cuddle them is irresistible, doing so goes against the welfare of the animal. It's not in their best interest. The animal needs to go back and remain free from attachments. It's tough at first, but you get used to it quickly! So we don't talk to them, we don't pet them... We remain professional and limit our interaction to caring for the bird."
Q: What are the conditions for becoming a volunteer?
Aurélie: "I don't require any specific training, but it's very time-consuming. You can spend your entire day there, skip meals... In the high season, it's very intensive, and you won't sleep for three months. Sometimes nerves are on edge, and the work can be thankless. Once released, the animal won't say, 'Great, thanks for your work, it's really amazing!' There's also the pain of managing the suffering of the animal, and sometimes the disappointment of not being able to save them all. But on the other hand, you're the one saving the animal, thanks to you, it has a chance to make it. When you release it, the satisfaction is so great that you say, 'Okay, it's worth it :)'"
Q: How can we help this association?
Aurélie: "To help this association, we donate 1% of the amount of each of your orders on our e-shop! You can also become a volunteer for SOSFAUNE SAUVAGE: here."