The term “birds of prey” refers to several related bird groups including hawks, eagles, falcons, kites and ospreys. You may also hear the term “Raptor” when speaking of this hunting group. All birds in this group hunt for their food. Vultures, though not closely related, are often included because they look similar to and soar with raptors. However, vultures are efficient scavengers and feed on carrion.
Birds of prey use their talons (long nails on their feet) as a defense. Large birds of prey can inflict a substantial laceration so use care if rescuing! These birds often lay on their backs and wave their talons in defense. If you are not comfortable capturing the bird, please contact us at 831-462-0726.
What to do if you find…
Baby Birds of Prey
If you have any reservations about rescuing a baby bird of prey, call Native Animal Rescue at 831-462-0726.
If the baby is on the ground, uninjured, has feathers, and is able to stand on its own, the bird is probably capable of hopping from branch to branch. Attempt to “re-nest” the baby as follows:
- Using gloves and a light towel, gently cover the bird and place it in a branch of the nearest tree.
- If there are no predators around, leave the area, but check again in a few hours.
- If you believe predators pose a significant risk and you’re unable to re-nest the bird, bring the bird to Native Animal Rescue.
If the bird has down feathers or is naked,
- Place the bird in a ventilated box with a warm towel.
- Transport the bird to NAR following the directions below.
Injured Mature Birds of Prey
Make sure that the bird is injured. Without touching it check for:
- A drooping wing
- Wing(s) held out from body
- Obvious leg injury (limping)
- Hit a window over 45 minutes ago
- Captured by cat or dog
If any of the above factors are present, please take the following steps:
1. Do not handle, feed, or transport the bird.
2. Contact Native Animal Rescue at 831-462-0726.
3. If you are unable to contact Native Animal Rescue, call Santa Cruz County Animal Services at 831-454-7200. After hours call 831-471-1182.