Rescues receive many calls each year about waterfowl with apparently broken wings. If the wing is sticking out at a right angle to the body then it's most likely a deformity known as airplane or angel wing. The cause of the problem is not definitively known but may be genetic and/or due to dietary factors. There is some speculation that a diet high in bread may be a cause but this is not proven.


If the condition is spotted in a developing young bird then it's possible that strapping the wing and providing a good diet may reverse the problem. For this reason, it's always worth contacting a wildlife rescue for a young bird with this issue.


In adults the situation is less clear. There will not be any treatment for the condition so an assessment will need to be made about whether moving the bird is in their best interest. In the right environment, a bird affected with airplane wing can lead a pretty normal life. They will need to be resident in a location where there is plenty of food, where others of their species are permanently resident, and where there is an island in the water that they can go to for protection for predators. If these elements are in place, the bird is likely best left with their flock in their home territory.


If these elements are not in place then a rescue should be contacted. It may be that the bird can be relocated to a more suitable location. However, do be aware that there are legal issues with helping Canada Geese and Egyptian Geese as they are considered an invasive species. Do check that the organisation you contact won't just cull the bird.


To find a rescue in your area, put your postcode into helpwildlife.co.uk/map. If you struggle to find rescue help or need bespoke advice, get in touch via our helpdesk - helpwildlife.co.uk/helpdesk