Warning:  Handling an injured raptor can be very dangerous. Only follow this procedure if you are unable to contact RMRP or your local District Wildlife Manager with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.

  • Prior to capture: Prepare a box with ventilation holes in the top and place a towel, paper towels or newspaper on the bottom. The box should be large enough for the bird to stand but small enough to keep it from flapping or flying around.
  • Collect the following materials: towel, blanket, sheet or other lightweight material large enough to cover the bird, gloves (such as leather welders gloves).

FOLLOW THE FIRST RULE OF RAPTOR HANDLING—KEEP YOURSELF SAFE! The raptor you are attempting to rescue will not understand that you are trying to help it. When you approach, it will try to protect itself and may attack you.

  • APPROACH WITH EXTREME CAUTION!  Most injured raptors will use their primary weapon, their strong feet and talons, to protect themselves but they may also bite.
  • Approach the bird from the rear if possible. Carefully place the sheet or blanket over the entire bird. The raptor may try to grab the blanket, sheet, or YOU with its feet. AVOID THE FEET by getting a firm grip from behind holding the wings to the bird’s body.  Keep the bird’s talons away from you and others.
  • Pick the bird up.  Hold the covered bird away from your body, and place it in the prepared box.
  • Gently remove the covering before closing the box.  If the bird is firmly attached to the blanket or sheet, try to expose the bird's head.
  • Place the box in a quiet room away from extreme temperatures and contact the RMRP or another licensed rehabilitator SAP.

DO NOT

DO NOT HANDLE OR LOOK AT THE BIRD ANY MORE THAN NECESSARY.  IT IS HIGHLY STRESSFUL AND CAN DO THE BIRD FURTHER HARM.

  • Do not attempt to feed or force the bird to drink. Each species has specific dietary requirements.  You may provide a small container of water to enable the bird to drink on its own.