The WR&R Songbird Team rehabilitates over 70 species of injured, ill, or orphaned birds. The majority of these species are songbirds. Songbirds are members of the largest group of birds called “passerines” due to their ability to perch with strong feet. Songbirds are capable of singing more complex songs than other kinds of birds due to their anatomy and by learning the song from their fathers. Passerines include flycatchers, jays, robins, finches, swallows, warblers, and wrens. The largest of songbirds are crows and ravens. In addition to passerines, the Songbird Team cares for other native birds such as mourning doves, band-tailed pigeons, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds.
What To Do If You Find An Injured Bird
If you find a bird you believe needs our help it is best to call WR&R’s hotline (530) 432-5522 right away. From September through April volunteers are on-call 9-5 every day who can answer your questions and determine if the bird needs to be brought to us for care. From May through August the Intake Center is open. Contact the Intake Center from 9-5, 7 days a week, at (530) 477-5574 for assistance.
When you call, you will be asked where the bird is now, is it safe, where and when was it found, and did you give it any food. You should place the bird in a padded or lined box (white paper towels work well for lining) and keep the bird in a warm, dark quiet place. We rarely instruct a finder to give water or food except possibly with a hummingbird who needs regular sources of energy. All of this will be explained over the phone. Make sure there is a minimum of noise and conversation during transport to us.
Prompt Emergency Care Critical
When a bird does need care, the sooner it receives proper expert care the better its chances for survival. Constant care by experienced personnel may be necessary to save it. This is obviously the case with bleeding injuries but also important when the condition or behavior of the bird seems to be abnormal.
Care is always urgently needed for cat-caught birds, and usually for dog-caught birds. Most cats and many dogs carry the pasturella bacteria in their saliva. This bacteria is life-threatening to birds and antibiotics are always given to a cat-caught bird or even one suspected of being in contact with a cat. Without receiving prompt care the bird will die.
Window-strike Birds Also Need Urgent Care
We also ask you to bring window-strike birds to us. Previously, people were instructed to leave the bird alone for an hour or two to see if it recovers, but recent information on head trauma has resulted in a better understanding of the role we can play when a concussion might result. It is now thought that while a bird may initially recover, it might ultimately succumb due to swelling of the brain following a window hit. Getting the bird to us in a timely manner allows us to administer anti-inflammatory medication that might save the bird’s life.
Orphaned Baby Birds
When it comes to orphaned baby birds, the volunteers will discuss the situation with you and together we’ll figure out if the bird can be re-nested or re-united with the parents, or if it should be brought to us for care. If at all possible, the baby birds will have a great chance thriving if they can stay with their parents.
Release of the Healthy Bird Back Into the Wild
Almost all of the injured, ill or orphaned birds are returned to where they came from, so it is important when you bring a bird to us that you let us know where it was found and the circumstances you observed. Your information is vital to helping us care for the bird.
We greatly appreciate your help in saving these birds!