Woodstock statue in front of the BRC

We hope the information provided here will help you learn more about how to help rescue a bird in distress, and that you will explore some of the ways you can get involved with us. Together we make a real difference.

Our purpose is to assist the public in the rescue of injured, orphaned or ill wild birds. We are licensed by State and Federal Fish and Wildlife agencies (Permit #MB7074770) to treat and release these birds back into the wild. photo of Northern Flicker in Rehab hospital mewThe Bird Rescue Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our offices and primary care facilities are located in Santa Rosa, California. Our service area includes the northern San Francisco Bay counties of Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake and Mendocino.

Over 90% of our operating budget comes from memberships, grants and donations from local businesses and individuals, and 90% of our staffing hours are provided by volunteers. BRC has recently received grants from the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County in support of our Education Program and organizational development. We depend on the efforts of our dedicated volunteers, and contributions from caring individuals like you.

A little history

In the early 1970s, responding to concerns about injured wild birds, a small group of Sonoma County residents began a rehabilitation response effort. At its start the Center primarily worked with sick and injured raptors (birds of prey) with the goal to rehabilitate and return these beautiful and ecologically essential animals to the wild.

Co-founder Martha Bentley with Diana Hichwa (with barn owl, Garbo)The Bird Rescue Center incorporated in 1976 through the efforts of the local Madrone Audubon Society. In 1980 two of the founding members, Martha Bentley (pictured here with longtime volunteer and past Board member Diane Hichwa) and Alida Morzenti went to the County seeking a permanent home for the Center. The effort was successful and resulted in support from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors who provided a site with a small building on property near Sutter Hospital. With the help of residents, students and faculty from the University of California at Davis, the site was renovated to accommodate our needs. Additionally, special housing (mews) were erected to lodge a group of permanently non-releasable raptors that were transferred from the Raptor Center at UC Davis by Alida Morzenti, who was then an Avian Sciences lecturer there.

Initially The Bird Rescue Center primarily worked with locally found sick and injured raptors, but gradually expanded its scope and opened its doors to native wild birds of all species. Through the efforts of our rehabilitation staff, trained volunteers and supporting veterinarians, a healthy percentage of the 2,500 to 3,000 native birds that come to The Bird Rescue Center each year are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.