Human Health Risks. Like all other animals, wild birds can and do get sick. Most avian diseases are specific to birds and cannot be transmitted to humans. So the chance of anyone becoming ill from handling a wild bird is remote. Rabies, the most serious wild animal disease which can be contracted by humans, is a mammalian disease and is not carried by birds. Lyme disease, another recent human health problem, is transmitted only by ticks. After handling any wild bird you should wash your hands thoroughly. If you ever have your skin punctured by a bird's beak or talons, check with your doctor on the advisability of an antitetanus booster.