Road Accidents provides advice on what to do if you find a sick, injured or abandoned wild bird or animal

Relief - Not Squashed Yet!Hundreds of thousands of wild birds and animals are killed and injured on Britain’s roads every year. The really sad thing is that so many are left to die a slow death as they are repeatedly run over when many could be saved with proper help.

If the victim is large eg a fox, badger, swan or deer please DO NOT attempt to capture it yourself. These animals are potentially dangerous when scared or injured and require expert handling. If the animal leaves the scene, try to see where it goes and call for urgent assistance. If it is in the road, you may wish to also call the police, as they will sometimes attend in this scenario to ease disruption and the safety risk to traffic. The most important thing you can do here (apart from calling a rescuer urgently), is minimise the casualty’s stress. If the casualty is not moving and it is safe to do so you can approach carefully and put a coat or blanket over its head. This will help to stop the casualty becoming too stressed. Some animals, especially deer, in these situations will freeze and lay still, making no attempt to get away. Many times we have seen people take this as a sign that the animal is tame or happy with people being close by and sit and stroke the casualty while waiting for help, sometimes even with their dog sitting with them. Please do not do this. It is not calm it is literally paralysed with fear. Retreat to a safe distance and try to keep other people away from the casualty while you wait for help.

If the victim is a small bird or animal (and it is safe for you to do so) pick it up carefully using gloves or a towel, bearing in mind that even smaller animals, especially squirrels, birds of prey and gulls, can cause you a minor injury when threatened.

A large, sturdy cardboard box may be sufficient for smaller casualties but a carry box designed for cats might be better if the creature is still lively and determined. If using a cardboard box, ensure the lid is secured to prevent escape and make sure to provide air holes. Place the box somewhere warm and quiet and keep children and pets away.

It is essential that you get the casualty expert help urgently. It is likely to be in shock and pain and may have serious injuries. Do not attempt to offer food or water. If you are able, supplementary heat can be helpful to assist with shock. You can put a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel at one end of the box, either inside, underneath or next to the box, ensuring the casualty can get away from the heat if it wants to. If it begins to pant, remove the heat source immediately.