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.  HOURS FOR MAY 2020 ARE TEMPORARY HOURS DUE TO COVID-19.  See home page for hours.

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.

Cat-Caught Birds

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/Collision with Car        Need Urgent Care

Birds that have collisions with windows or cars can suffer concussions and internal injuries, even though they may “appear” fine at first.  We no longer advise to wait and see if the bird recovers.  We ask that the bird be brought to us as soon as possible so we can help prevent a potential fatal injury due to brain swelling.  

Orphaned Baby Birds

Not all baby birds that are out of their nest are truly orphaned.  Some birds leave their nest before they can Our volunteers will discuss the situation with you and will determine if the bird can be re-nested or re-united with the parents, or if it should be brought to us for care.



Please understand that we are only providing these instructions because we are very short-handed due to the Covid-19 crisis and we realize finders will find babies during hours our center is not open.  You still MUST get the baby to our center so it can be properly cared for.  We provide a balanced diet appropriate for the species and age of the bird.  An improper diet can kill a baby bird.

Warm the bird (if the baby feels cold it needs to be warmed immediately). If it is hot outside and the baby feel too hot, it must cool down a little before putting on a heating pad.

Make a nest:  If the baby bird does not have feathers or feathers do not cover the entire bird, this is probably a nestling.  First make a nest with soft tissue inside a container (so the bird is snug inside the tissue).  Place container on a heating pad set on low.  The bird should feel warm to the touch.  Adjust heat by placing layers of cloth between the nest/container and the heating pad. Place in a small area like a bathroom away from children, pets, and excessive noise.

Temporary/Emergency Food:  these instructions are not what we provide baby birds on a daily basis.  It is emergency food only.  These instructions are only intended to keep the baby from starving until it can get to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator.  If the baby feels lethargic and has not pooped, it needs a little water to get the guts moving.  Go to Water (below) BEFORE giving anything solid.  Best food: dry kitten food, soaked in warm water until soft. Small mealworms from the pet store (not for finches). Ok to use: dry adult cat food or dog food, soaked in warm water.  Canned pet food is ok, but not as high in protein as dry food.  Feed moistened bhgrosbeak-being-fed_mg_0874_8-5x11-5_cr_c_v_gbl_cl_brbits of food a little at a time. Use a small blunt stick (like a coffee stirrer). Tiny babies need 20-minute feedings until dark. Older nestlings and fledglings can be fed every 30-60 minutes until dark and then again starting at daybreak. Do not get food on feathers. Clean feathers with a moistened soft tissue or Q-tip.

Water: if the baby is not gaping or appears lethargic, you may need to offer water to get the guts working. It’s important that the baby passes a poop dropping before feeding. DO NOT SQUIRT water into the mouth. The baby can drown. There is an opening at the base of the tongue that leads into the lungs. Small drops of water can be offered using a Q-tip, a clean (unused) paintbrush, or eyedropper (very carefully) at the TIP of the beak. Water will seep into the mouth.  Once the baby bird poops, go ahead and start with small amounts of food.

Nestling robin with a mirror buddy.