Wildlife and Bird Rescue and Care

This page is a resource to guide you in the correct approach when dealing with birds and specific problems. I am not a veterinarian. Please do not write to me asking for help in dealing with a sick, orphaned or injured birds. Contact your local animal control office or fish and game department if you need help with an injured or sick bird.

I volunteer with the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network in Santa Barbara, California and am providing these guidelines due to the numerous e-mails I've received from around the world asking for help in caring for a sick or injured bird. Our facilities, while small, are designed to help nurse and restore injured animals so they can be released back into their environment. Even with the specialized equipment and facilities the network has, it is a very difficult task in caring for these animals.

The following tips are suggestions for those of you who find a sick or injured bird.


Should you come across a bird needing help contact your local wildlife assistance department or organization first. If your city or town does not have one contact the closest state fish and wildlife office. They can assist you in contacting a local wildlife care unit.

Here is a link to a list of wildlife rescue groups and facilties in North America. Start at the state level by asking for a local contact. Fish and game departments will point you in the right direction but you'll still need to do some detective work to find the closest wildlife rescue or rehabilitation facility. Don't give up!

State and federal laws make it is illegal to posses most wild birds. If you are really interested in working to treat injured and sick wildlife consider taking a course in animal medicine or becoming certified through your state's fish and game department. A good place to find information regarding rehabilitation training is by looking at the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council's website for detailed information.

Your local zoo may also have an animal care aide volunteer program, much like the one I participate in at the Santa Barbara Zoo in Santa Barbara, California.

Handling an injured bird or injured wildlife

Always contact your local animal control or wildlife rescue organization first before attempting a rescue yourself!

Transporting Birds

Orphaned or sick birds

Before picking up a bird look around for its nest. If you find the nest check and compare the birds in the nest with the one you've found. If it looks like the correct bird place it back in the nest.

If you cannot find the nest watch to see if the parents return later in the day. They may be out forageing for food.

Do not handle a young bird more than is necessary.

Again, if your town or city has a local wildlife care network contact them first. They are better equipped to nurse an sick or orphaned bird.

The feeding and care of an infant bird is not easy nor is it simple. It should be left to those who are trained in providing proper care.

Birds as Pests

As much as we feel we need to take care of all wild creatures they will often become pests due to their numbers or habits.

It is illegal to shoot, trap, or harass birds simply because they have become nusances. The following links provide information and resources to help you deal with birds which may become a problem to your home or community.

Certain birds are often considered pests, starlings, crows, pigeons and woodpeckers, to name a few. The following are resources online which provide some measures to help remove birds from an area or house safely.

Insects as Pests

Insects are a staple to a bird's diet. However in some cases, they may become a problem to certain species. Hummingbird feeders will attract ants, bees, yellow jackets and wasps.

If your hummingbird feeder attracts more insects than birds consider using Bee or Wasp traps. Do not use insecticide to keep them away from the feeder.

If you have tried other approaches to keep hummingbird feeders free of bees or wasps let me know. I will post your suggestion.

Bird Art - Notecards: My series of color and black & white raptor portraits. Commissions accepted.

Need more information on wildlife rescue? Search here.

All images © Anthony Galván III

Any use requires written permission!

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