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Wildlife/Male House Finch


My cat caught a male house finch, which I was able to get away from her, two days ago . . . He can fly about 2-3 feet off the ground but not far . . . Today I noticed he is missing his tail feathers and that seems to be all . . . He is eating and drinking and lets me hold him in my hand . . . I would like to let him go, but it is winter and temps this coming week will be in the 30's and 40's compared to the below 0's and 20's that we have been having the week I rescued him . . . Would he be better off in the wild ? ? ?  Can he be let go without tail feathers and how long before the tail feathers grow back ? ? ?
I'm feeding him bird seed, sunflower and millet . . . Thank you for any help you can give me . . .

Hi Nancy,

Thank you for rescuing this bird! Is there anyway you might be able to take it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area? Cats can cause significant injuries that may be hidden under feathers and often difficult to see, especially puncture wounds (bite wounds especially) that can become infected and quickly lead to the demise of the bird.  Here is a link to Ohio wildlife rehabilitators to help locate one near you.

You can try letting the bird go if he seems relatively uninjured otherwise and the weather is improved. Often times, they can adapt and fly just fine without tail feathers, which may completely grow back in a few weeks.

I would first contact a wildlife rehabilitator, just in case the bird needs additional treatment and care.

I hope this helps and let me know if you have any further questions. Hopefully, the bird is well enough to return to the wild.



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