BOC Help Page

If you have an urgent question about a bird, the advice and links here may help.

What is this bird?

There are plenty of guides to bird identification available in most bookshops and, online, you can use the RSPB A-Z of birds, Birdspot, or the Merlin app, which also includes a bird song identifier. If you have a photo of a bird you have seen locally that you cannot identify, you can email it to us and we will try to name it.

What if I find a dead bird?

Most birds die naturally, of cold, hunger or predation, and we rarely see their bodies. The birds we find dead have often had collisions with vehicles, overhead wires or with windows (something we can minimise by making the glass more obvious, for example by using window stickers).

If you find a bird that you think may have been shot illegally or poisoned, learn how to report it here.

Wild birds are rarely found dead from Avian Flu, however, poultry keepers should be aware of the symptoms. During bird flu epidemics, if you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).

What if I find a ringed bird?

Wild birds are ringed to help us understand more about their movements and survival. Metal rings on wild birds have an address and a ring number.  The address tells you which country it was ringed in and the number is a a unique identifier. The UK address is frequently the Natural History Museum in London and the ring number is most frequently one or two letters and a series of three to six digits. Make a careful note of the number. You can report the find online at and if at all possible provide the grid reference of the place at which you found the bird. The British Trust for Ornithology will let you know where and when it was ringed.  British records are normally provided within a few weeks; some foreign ringing schemes may take longer.

What should I do with a sick, injured or baby bird?

Looking after sick and injured birds and fledglings unable to make their own way can be difficult.  Expert advice should be sought. As a start, see the RSPCA advice and the RSPB advice.

Experts in Berkshire that may be able to help include the

  • RSPCA (national animal welfare line 0300 1234 999).
  • Berkshire Swan Lifeline, Cuckoo Weir Island, S Meadow Lane, Eton, Windsor SL4 6SS. Tel: 01753 859397.
  • Help Wildlife (all wildlife) directory of wildlife rescues.

 What should I do when a bird gets trapped in my house?

Getting trapped in a house must be terrifying for a bird. In daylight, open the room’s curtains and windows and move away. The bird will normally go for the light and escape.  At night in the dark, most birds will roost quietly. If you can, pick it up gently and put it into a box from which you can release it in daylight.

Other questions…..

If the advice & links above don’t give you the information you need, then try contacting the Club Secretary:

phone: 0118 946 3125