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Observed: 27th July 2012 By: alex.oxford.uni...

A bird with apparently injured wing has been found on a doorstep in a town centre. Couldn’t identify it with the books. Curious to know what it is.
Can anybody advise us what can we feed it with, please? It's hungry.

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ophrys's picture


Swifts are hopeless on the ground, as they spend the majority of their life in the air. If it has a genuinely broken wing, there is probably little you can do for it. However, usually they are just grounded and purely need launching. It is a leap of faith, but they need a gentle throw up into the air, so that they can fly! It is not drooping a wing in your pictures, so I suspect it is OK. I would take it outside as soon as possible, over an area of soft grass, and throw it up...I bet it will fly off.


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Syrphus's picture

In answer to your question

In answer to your question above 'Can anybody advise us what can we feed it with, please? It's hungry.' collect a load of flies (that might be in the box marked 'easier said than done', but a bit of effort should see you there), mash them up and try pushing the pulp gently to the back of the throat.



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Syrphus, Thank you for the quick identification and for the advice on feeding. It's very helpful.

Ophrys, Thank you for your suggestion. We have just launched it and it flew away. We had been afraid that it wouldn't be able to fly, but it did it. It was very touching to watch that.

ophrys's picture


Well done for looking after it! Very satisfying. I get brought one or two every year and they almost always fly away readily.

I never like that moment when you throw it up, though!

[PS: Did its claws get you? Super sharp!]


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browntrumpet's picture

Swift launch

I thought you were just supposed to raise your arm up in the air and let them fly off as opposed to throwing them up. Perhaps i'm just splitting hairs, though.
Also heard you could feed them with catfood - not sure how much truth there is in that though!