Yummy rescued a bird the other day. Friday one of her coworkers gave her a call and said there was an injured bird in the parking lot. It had probably hit a window, they thought the wing might be broken, and it was flopping around in a pool of rainwater trying to keep it's head up. Yummy rushed out, grabbed the bird, and brought it inside. The coworker was, of course, "wait. You mean it's OK to touch it?"
Yummy then called me and asked what to do. I've rescued a number of wild birds over the years. Some that had smacked into windows and some that had left the nest too early and weren't quite up for serious flying yet. When you're in the field trying to kick the mud from a farm implement and a bird lands on your shoulder you just kind of go with it.
The bird, a dove, was awake, holding it's wing strange, and breathing really heavy. How much of that was the injury and how much was the fact that the big scary people had brought it inside is open to speculation. I told her to put the bird in a box and put a towel over the box. This should give the bird a comfortable place to be and at the same time give it a better sense of security since it couldn't see the people.
Yummy wanted to take it to a shelter, but her time was already in heavy demand Friday night. She brought it home and we moved the dove into a cat carrier. The carrier was lined with the jacket of a coworker who wasn't at work to object. A dowel rod was put in so the dove would have something to wrap it's feet around. Then seed an a water dish was added. Then we put a sheet over the cat carrier to prevent drafts and to prevent Yummy's cat from obsessing about the dove.
Having already had most of the day to rest the dove's wings were looking better, but one was still a bit stiff. Definitely not broken. And the dove was a big fan of sleep. By Saturday morning it was better still. The plan was to take it back to the office parking lot where we found it just in case there was a mate that it needed to find again. We had a home for homeless and battered women that we were supposed to fix up, but we could cut out early and take the bird to the office. There's a whole big story about why we weren't able to do that, but we'll get into that later.
Instead we let the dove loose in the bathroom with some seed and water. Just so it would have a bit more space. We weren't sure if it was eating and hoped that having a bit more open space with seed on the ground would get it to eat more. You know, much the way in the wild it would pick at the ground for seed and bread crumbs.
Sunday, before a Guerilla Gardening event, we took the dove back to the parking lot and let it out. It dipped for a bit then flew through some branches and landed on a branch. Yummy wasn't satisfied yet. It flew 8 ft or so, but hadn't really taken off. And earlier, when she asked me how we knew if it was OK, I answered that if we let it go and can't catch it again then it's fine.
So we got a branch and poked the dove. It didn't like it, but it didn't fly off. ... Bad sign.
I climbed the tree. The dove watched me. ... Not good.
I touched the dove. I grabbed the dove. It was pissed about that, but when I relaxed my grip it climbed on my finger. ... Looks like it's coming home.
I handed the dove to Yummy where it promptly broke loose and flew off across the parking lot, through a tree, and was gone. ... SUCCESS! That's all we wanted from it.
Many people would tell you not to rescue wild creatures. Even soft and mellow doves. But if you intend to do so anyway then this can act as a guide. I've done similar things with robins and blue jays before. If they survived the impact with the window then it's likely that the bird just needs some time to recover. If you can give it a safe place without it injuring you then you can do that. Just wash your hands after handling the bird to make sure you don't transfer any crud the bird might have to your other pets. And thick gloves are your friends just in case the bird decides it isn't your friend.