Please identify this bird
June 22, 2014 3:04 PM   Subscribe

My spouse went surfing and found this bird bobbing on the waves. There seemed to be something wrong with the bird so he took it home. Here's another pic. The bird is very passive and doesn't move much, so we're guessing it's either ill, injured or exhausted. What bird is this? And what should we do with it? We're in Holland.

We've put the bird in a cushioned laundry basket (which we covered with plastic coated wire netting) with a bowl of water. We'll take it to the avian rescue tomorrow. I guess they'll either take it in or tell us to release it.

Meanwhile, can we help it somehow? What does it eat, what does it need? How do we best make sure it stays alive while under our care?
posted by sively to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm no expert, but it looks like a little auk to me. (It's so cute!)
posted by wintersweet at 3:07 PM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

A little more information.
posted by wintersweet at 3:10 PM on June 22, 2014

Call your local vet office - they might be able to give you some advice or direct you to other subject matter experts.
posted by bunderful at 3:16 PM on June 22, 2014

You really shouldn't take wild birds or other animals home for a number of reasons.

One: You don't really know if it was actually sick or in distress. You're not a wildlife expert.

Two: You're not equipped to care for it. You're not a wildlife expert.

Three: The wild bird/animal may have coping strategies or social/familial support you're unaware of.

Four: Even if it is indeed sick or in distress, you're not a vet or wildlife expert capable of treating it or diagnosing it.

Five: It might be sick and contagious, infested with parasites or a number of other cross-species communicable diseases. Bacteriological and viral infections are not uncommon in birds. Please keep it away from children and pets, and wash your hands very thoroughly after handling it. Any cloth and contact points should probably be sterilized and thoroughly after use and the bird is gone.

Further advice?

Don't feed it. Don't offer it human food, especially not bread or dairy. It's not a mammal. Don't offer it human-edible fish or tinned sardines.

I would also recommend not keeping it to warm if it's a little auk, it likely prefers colder temperatures than the average human home.

Get it to an avian rescue ASAP. Is there a number you can call now/tonight, instead of tomorrow? Taking even a healthy bird from their natural habitat can be very stressful, and there are many things that can be toxic to birds in a human environment, like artificial scents found in detergents or fabric softeners and air fresheners.
posted by loquacious at 4:31 PM on June 22, 2014 [18 favorites]

A wildlife rescue will be able to take it in and care for it. Meanwhile, if it is an auk, it eats fish; fresh small fish from your local market (nothing salted or processed) would be fine.
posted by Nyx at 4:32 PM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

That looks like a dovekie but I'll have to check their range to be sure. It's a seabird so you should leave it on the water. It may have become exhausted by a storm and was recovering (or dying honestly) when you found it. Dovekies eat fish and small crustacens aka krill. It doesn't and shouldn't eat anything you offer it. You should take it back out to sea and leave it there. They only spend a couple weeks on shore breeding in the summer an the rest of the year (including the dead of winter!) offshore. Definitely don't keep it warm and dry. Maybe try the bathtub? But best bet is animal rescue or releasing it.
posted by hydrobatidae at 6:28 PM on June 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice. I've just phoned the avian rescue (which was our plan all along, if you read my question) and they told me to bring it in.

It seems to be an auk, which normally don't live anywhere close to Holland but are sometimes flown in by Arctic storms. I'll be happy if it gets a chance to recover at the rescue centre so it can attempt a journey back home.
posted by sively at 12:21 AM on June 23, 2014 [9 favorites]

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