Injured Juvenile Blackbird - how long for tail and wing feathers to regrow?


Hi, I have an injured bird, which has now been identified as a Juvenile Blackbird. Its thankfully now eating and drinking on a regular basis. Its tail feathers have been pulled out, leaving just 2 fail feathers left, its right wing also looks to be missing some feathers. I contacted various sanctuaries and centres and they have said that it will most likely die of shock if I try to bring it to them. My question is how long should the feathers take to regrow? One centre said two weeks but this seems very quick. I also read the juvenile blackbirds have a post-moult into adulthood, could the bird be lucky and it will regrow the last feathers quicker because of this?

Many thanks,


Original post:

Hi, I have an injured fledgling starling in my garden. It hit a window yesterday and has since been hopping around, it can fly but not far at all. And it seems like it’s back tail is angled towards its left side instead of straight. I imagine it might have broken its tail. Problem is it keeps sitting on the ground where my neighbours cats go, and I’ve had to chase them off repeatedly. I can’t catch the fledgling as it hops off and the parents have ignored it since it hit the window and just keep feeding the other two fledglings. Problem is rspca won’t come out unless I can catch the bird, which I can’t. And it doesn’t seem to be eating or drinking. Any suggestions? And does anyone know if the tail can fix by itself?

  • Hi, I can't really help except to suggest that maybe with help from neighbours you could catch it. Does anyone have a fishing net or something you could throw over it? How do the RSPB suggest you catch it?

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • Hi Hazel,

    Thank you for your reply. I managed to find some old net curtains to use. The RSPCA said they would come and collect the bird if I could catch it. But would only take it to the nearest vet. Which I rang and they said they would put it down for they don’t have the time to let it’s tail feathers recover. But on the plus side I found a local wildlife centre, sent them pictures and they said that yes a couple of tail feathers have been pulled out, but because of this it will grow back very quickly. At the moment they have advised keeping it in the garden and check on it from time to time. But if it looks like it’s going down hill, then they will happily take it. But for now in case of shock they said to leave alone. Just wish my neighbours cats did the same.


  • Tail feather loss won't affect it from flying enough to leave a garden. Sounds like the mauling resulted in more than tail feather loss.
    Considering the time frame and what has been written, it will die very shortly. Young birds can't go days without food.
  • In reply to Robbo:

    Hi Robbo,

    Thankfully its starting to eat and drink a lot more. I've also found out its a juvenile blackbird. Having had another look, it seems to be missing some wing feathers too and can only hop/fly about a foot. The centres say that it will probably die from shock time, with the time it will take me to get to them, the closest is an hour away. And RSPCA and Vets have indicated the same, not because it won't recover, but because of shock or they don't have the time (costs) for it to recover with them. I'm sleeping very little and have done no work for watching and protecting this bird, but I do worry I can't keep it up. Hopefully its feathers will grow back soon.

    Thank you for your help.
  • Hi,

    Silly question, but the wing isn't broken is it?