Whenever possible, preparing your transport box before you attempt to pick up a bird minimizes handling time, which is less traumatic for both bird and rescuer.
Never use a wire cage to transport a bird, as cages can cause severe damage to feathers and wings. To carry and protect the bird during the trip to the Center, use a cardboard box lined with a soft towel. Cardboard causes less feather damage than a bag or similar container when transporting an excited bird that might be jumping around inside the container. Punch small holes in the box to allow for sufficient air but minimal light.
Do not use shredded paper or cotton to line the box, as these can easily get caught in the bird’s toes or get wrapped around its neck. Do not use green grass cuttings, as the dampness could give the bird a chill. Finally, do not use an old bird’s nest. These may harbor mites and vermin harmful to the bird. For younger or injured birds, a towel or facial tissue can be bunched around the bird to provide support and prevent it from resting in an uncomfortable, splayed position.
Now you can quickly pick up and box the bird. (See How do you pick up an injured bird? above.)
Once the bird is tucked safely in its box, a lid with holes punched in it or a towel can be placed over the box to prevent the bird from jumping out and to also give it some darkness. Frightened birds find darkness calming.
When transporting a raptor (bird of prey) or large waterbird, take care to ensure that the bird is securely contained in a box. It can be very dangerous if such a bird were to escape into the car as you were driving down the road.