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2007-01

Dear Cathy Cockatiel

I found a dove that can’t fly, and I want to nurse it back to health. If it never regains its ability to fly, I am happy to keep it as a pet. Please tell me how to care for this bird.

Cathy Responds

Your dove needs the help of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

To find a “rehabber” in your area, ask your veterinarian or local humane society, or contact the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association at 320-230-9920 or www.nwrawildlife.org.

Because each bird species has particular requirements for food and housing, only a wildlife rehabber has the training and experience necessary to properly care for the dove you found.

Moreover, birds can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, so it’s important that they are handled by knowledgeable professionals.

For these reasons, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires that people who house wildlife, even for medical care, have permits.

Furthermore, doves and almost all other species of wild birds are protected by the migratory bird act.

Even I, a pet bird, need specialized care that not every veterinarian can provide. It’s the same with wildlife.

So do right by the dove you found. Take it to a wildlife rehabilitator to ensure that it gets the best possible care.

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