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Found a Bird?
We’re Here to Help!

Thank you for looking out for our feathered friends. If you have found a sick, injured or orphaned bird, here’s what to do next…

Remember - wild birds are not pets.

Birds are naturally frightened of humans. They are so fragile that it is actually against the law to keep them in your home without a permit. The law recognizes that if they are sick or injured, they need professional help and the longer any condition remains untreated, the more difficult, (or perhaps even impossible), it will be to heal them. If they are orphaned, dehydration and starvation are quick to set in, requiring professional care to administer fluids and special diets, which vary greatly according to age and species.

Call us at 707.523.2473 between 9am and 4pm seven days a week. We will help you assess the situation and walk you through the rescue.


Open 9am to 4pm every day to receive birds



3430 Chanate Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Our physical location is on County Farm Drive

Here are some basic guidelines to help with rescuing a bird and making it comfortable until it can be delivered to The Bird Rescue Center or another rehabilitation center in your area.


What to do first - Stop and assess before you act

If you spot a bird, particularly a young one that appears to be abandoned or in difficulty, do not try to catch the bird right away. Take a few minutes to observe its behavior from a distance, as it may simply be waiting for a parent to return. Adult birds will often briefly leave their young to hunt for food and then return to care for them.
If you believe the bird is injured, in danger, or has been abandoned by parents, take a photo of the situation and call The Bird Rescue Center before attempting to pick the bird up.  Injured wild birds can be dangerous and require special handling. Keep an eye on the bird’s whereabouts and describe the behavior and overall condition to the volunteer you reach on the Bird Rescue phone. They will advise you on the proper course of action for that particular bird.


What to do before picking up
the bird

If you are directed to bring the bird in for care, or if you find the bird outside of our hours of operation, below are some basic guidelines.


Before attempting to capture the bird, prepare a suitable container.

A cardboard box with small air holes, just big enough for the bird to stand and turn, is preferable to a large container, where the bird could unintentionally incur further injury if agitated inside the box.


Place an old towel in the bottom of the box. Be sure the towel is free of strings that can get caught around toes.


How to pick up and box a bird


The bird needs quiet and calm

For injured or young songbirds, gently cradle the bird’s body with both hands, holding the wings against the bird’s body as you lift the bird gently from the ground and transfer immediately into your prepared box.
Young or injured raptors (birds of prey), or large waterbirds such as herons and egrets, can cause serious injury with their talons and/or beaks, so be sure to wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved jacket, eye protection, and heavy gloves. These birds will be most easily caught by quickly and gently covering them with a sheet or towel, and then restraining the feet (raptors) or neck (herons and egrets). With your arms, try to gently keep the bird’s wings down at the bird’s side when transferring to the box. Even large birds can “fold-up” to a fairly compact size.
After placing the bird in the box, be sure to close the container securely, particularly with birds of prey, to prevent escape. Remember, the sooner you place the bird into a suitable container, the calmer the bird will be. It is important to reduce stress whenever possible.

Do not attempt to give the bird food or water, or open the box constantly. The bird needs to be kept warm, in dark and quiet surroundings.

Prompt transport to a rehabilitation center is essential to the bird’s survival. When transporting in your car, refrain from playing the radio or talking loudly. Covering the box minimizes the amount of light entering, which helps calm the bird.

If you need to keep the bird overnight until we resume operations in the morning, make sure the bird is kept warm, and in a quiet place away from pets, kids or the sounds of human activity. 


Out of our area?
Use this website to find help near you:

Please note!  

Whenever possible, we ask that you attempt the rescue yourself, or with the help of a friend or neighbor, and transport the bird to our facility. We will guide you through the process!

If you are unable to rescue or deliver the bird yourself, we do have a team of Field Rescue Volunteers who may be able to help. We ask for your consideration for their time, however. These dedicated volunteers make every effort to assist as many people as possible but may not always be able to respond immediately due to jobs and other responsibilities.








In light of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), we have implemented protocols to protect all the birds in our care. Please help us by adhering to the following procedures:


  • Call before bringing in any bird. You may be directed to an alternate entrance.

  • Do not leave a bird outside our facility during non-business hours. If you are keeping a bird overnight, be sure it is in an isolated, contained, warm area away from any pets. 

  • Use a disposable container whenever possible, or mark the container with your name and contact information so we can return it to you at a later date.

  • Container size is best if it can fit in a 12-inch wide x 17.5-inch tall carrier. If not, it must be secure (with holes for ventilation) and fit through a 26-inch wide doorway.

  • We are unable to accept any dead birds. The bodies should be incinerated or buried at least 4' deep after being covered with a layer of lime.

We continue to accept all native wild birds according the guidelines above.

Depending on the progression of this epidemic, we may have to require specific windows of time for dropping off species that are most likely to carry the virus. We will keep you updated as we learn more about the impact in our area.

We will remain closed for Open Houses during this time and maintain certain requirements for educational events for the safety of our Ambassador birds.

The situation is in flux. As we determine the severity and scope of HPAI in our area, we will keep you thoroughly informed.

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