At three o’clock  one afternoon  this week my husband Rob called me outside. He looked very upset, and was holding a crimson rosella in an old towel.

Crimson rosella after flying intoa window.

A sorry sight.

It had flown into one of the windows. We live in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, and the birdlife is prolific, especially in our garden. There are lots of native plants for  the nectar feeders  and we provide bowls of  fresh water for drinking and bathing. I must confess that Rob does more than his share of scrubbing bowls and refilling them.

Crimson rosella

Happier times, feeding in the correas.

I found a cardboard box in the garage and we gently laid the patient inside.  Fortunately its wings and legs seemed okay. It was breathing, but  completely unconscious.   Rob  thought it looked pretty old, which didn’t bode well for a positive outcome.  We put  the box in the shade, hoping  against hope that our sweet rosella  would recover and fly off.  We kept watch from a distance to ensure it was safe from predators. There is not much more  you can do for an injury such as  this.


Caring for injured crimson rosella

Intensive care unit









A concussed bird  will sleep for a long period, to give the brain time to heal. I guess it’s a bit like a person being  put into an  induced coma.

Injured crimson rosella.

Not looking good, but breathing.

It was more than two hours before it was well enough to sit up, then eventually to stand. Such a relief.   Now it’s not a good idea to give  an injured bird anything to eat or drink, even as it starts to recover.  Hard not to of course, because the desire to help is so strong.  All you can do is leave it be and trust  in the healing power of mother nature. The less stress and human intervention the better.

Recuperating crimson rosella

Recuperating crimson rosella

To our enormous relief, another hour later the rosella hopped out of the box and flew up to the railing. This was followed  by yet  another long period of rest.

It was now seven o’clock and nearly dark. We hated leaving it  perched there, still so unwell and vulnerable. Rob considered    picking  it up and putting it in the shelter of the shrubbery overnight, but in the end we decided  that handling the poor thing  again  would just  cause more stress.


Crimson rosella

A big step.

Injured crimson rosella recuperating

Crimson rosella

Looking so much better.


And then suddenly, off it flew; first to a grevillea bush,  then up to a roost in a tree. In the final glimmer of light Rob watched it take flight to parts unknown. Oh joy!  Success…..four and a half hours after the collision. It had been  such  a profound experience to watch the bird’s recovery. For a while we feared we would be taking it to the village vet to be put to sleep.

Mind you, we did feel very guilty. After all it was our fault, and  not  the first time our windows have caused an accident. There are solutions, which we will really have to consider. You can put decals on  the windows that create  those dangerously clear reflections. Putting  up a wind chime would help, too.

Window decals to protect birds

These  decals could save more disasters and are quite decorative.



















  1. Thanks for this timely posting Pauline. You did exactly the right thing – we’ve been wildlife carers for over 20 years and this is what I tell anyone in the same situation. Give the bird several hours (sometimes longer) to recover in a safe container. You can provide food and water near where you release the bird so they have a choice
    As far as preventing such accidents, that’s not always possible as sometimes when they’re spooked they will fly blindly to get away from the predator, but it’s always worth a try.

    • Pauline

      Thanks Christine. What sort of birds/animals are you most familiar with? I’ve never known a bird take so long to recover. Maybe that’s because our other casualties have been tiny birds such as spinebills. Its the reflections of shrubs and trees on our windows that is the problem here.

  2. We have very similar birds here in Bathurst. I have had the odd one that has taken 24 hours before it seemed well enough to release. (I keep old bird cages for just such an occasion).

  3. All’s well that ends well. Thank goodness.

  4. Transferring and transporting an injured bird to Bird Rescue usually depends on the efforts of volunteers and the transferring organizations. The journey sometimes takes a great deal of effort and is often time sensitive.

  5. Pauline

    Yes, they do such a wonderful job.

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