The South African Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre recently shared some helpful tips on how to take care of drenched birds you find after a storm


The rainy season has officially kicked off and after the very damp weekend across the country, many birds were found to be a little waterlogged. The situation isn’t uncommon and often the bird just needs to dry off before taking flight again.

The South African Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre had an influx of calls from worried South Africans, asking questions about birds being found in their gardens. The centre decided to share some really helpful information so that people could help out with the surge in wet birds.

They started off by asking people to take time in checking gardens for drenched birds. If any are found they can be easily treated at home by the person that found them. Unless the bird is really injured, this is what you can do…

Here’s what you can do if you find a soaked soul:

  • Place a clean towel over the bird, and gently secure the wings to the body.
  • Pick it up gently, keeping both hands securely around the bird, supporting legs and feet. (Mind your fingers in the case of raptors .. their talons are worse than the bite!!)
  • Take it inside, and place it in a prepared box (merely a towel or paper towel under the feet to stop them slipping around, with loads of airholes poked through on one side and the lid to allow air in.
  • Use a hair dryer on LOW warmth to dry the bird. ** KEEP ONE HAND BETWEEN THE BIRD AND THE HAIRDRYER SO YOU CAN FEEL THE HEAT!
  • Make sure you do not burn it!
  • Ensure there is not a massive build-up of heat in the box while drying. 32 to 34 degrees C is perfect.
  • As soon as the feathers are once again fluffy and the bird has warmed up a little, leave it in the box for a while to cool down to room temperature (and to settle down after the bit of stress).
  • Place the bird back outside in a dry and safe/secure area, as close to where it was found as possible, open the lid gently and leave it to fly off from there when it is ready.
  • Place some of their favourite foods out to help them find meals in the rainy weather. Fruits: Apple, Pawpaw, Mango, Banana, Sweet melon, Opened grapes, *** NOT AVO!!, Crushed/mixed bird seed. Raptors/meat eaters like the barn owl, have a more specialized diet requirement.. they will be looking for rats/mice/insects and small birds to eat
  • If in doubt – phone a rehab centre for advice – take a photo or video as most qualified rehabbers will be able to help/guide you after seeing a pic or video, and advise should further help be needed.

There are many rehab centres available to assist, you can find a list of them with links to their Facebook pages below.

Thank you to the South African Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre for this valuable information, it can go a long way to saving the beautiful birds of South Africa. If we have missed any rescue and rehabilitation centres with a focus on birds, pop us a comment below and we will add it.

Sources: Facebook
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.


  1. I don’t mind you using the article – but you have spotted eagle owlets pictured here and not the barn owl 😉

  2. Your advice to check gardens after storms to find any drenched or injured bird and then properly care for them would be useful. I also like that you mention finding local wildlife rescue centres for any assistance. Looking online could help you research local centres so you can find one that is nearby and has experience with bird rescues so they can help with your situation.

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