The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Migratory Bird Permit Office (MBPO) regulates the rehabilitation of sick, injured, or orphaned migratory birds. Migratory bird is a regulatory term referring to the species of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The MBTA protects over 1,000 species of mostly native birds. A list of protected migratory bird species is provided in 50 CFR 10.13 . Migratory Birds are protected in all of their forms, whether live, dead, mounted, carcass, specimens, samples, feathers, parts, nests, and viable and nonviable eggs. Migratory birds listed as endangered or threatened are further protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Please check this document for details.
For other injured or orphaned animals:
- Be aware that any wildlife species can cause injury or transmit disease to you.
- Note the exact location you found the animal.
- Place it in a ventilated cardboard box in a warm, quiet area.
- Keep human contact to a minimum.
Call a rehabber. The closest facility for Southwest Washington and Northeast Oregon are:
- Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria OR
- Portland Audubon Society Wildlife Care Center503.292.0304
- Raindancer Wild Bird Rescue in Olympia WA
If you have an injured animal in Northwest Oregon or Southwest Washington please contact one of the numbers above.
Do not attempt to care for the animal yourself. Offer it water, but please do not give it any food.
If you find a young animal that you think is abandoned, make certain it is truly orphaned. The parents may be nearby but not visible. Call a rehabber before removing any young wildlife from its location
Every year many baby birds die not because of our human destructiveness, but because of our good intentions. People "rescue" fallen robins, while the poor animal's parents could only watch from a safe distance. The parental duties of a bird, are very strenuous and time consuming and so they leave the babies behind in safety while they go out foraging.
Many species of birds such as robins, scrub jays, crows and owls leave the nest and spend as many as 2-5 days on the ground before they can fly. This is an absolutely normal and vital part of their development. They are cared for and protected by their parents and are taught vital life skills (finding food, identifying predators, flying) during this period.
Taking these birds into captivity denies them the opportunity to learn skills that they will need to survive in the wild. Unless a bird is injured, it is essential to leave them outside to learn from their parents.
If you are concerned that the bird fell from the nest too early, you may try and return the bird to its nest. If the nest has been destroyed or is unreachable, you may substitute a strawberry basket or small box lined with tissue and suspend it from a branch near to where you believe the nest is located.
Birds have a poor sense of smell and very strong parental instincts and will usually continue caring for their young. However, adult birds are cautious after any type of disturbance and it may take several hours before they approach the nestling.
During this period it is essential that humans not approach the nestling.
Fledglings are typically fully feathered, with a short tail and wings. They are able to walk, hop and flap and may attempt short flights, but are still being cared for by the parents. If you find a fledgling, it should be left alone or at the most, placed into a nearby shrub. Keep people and pets away so the parents will continue to care for it until it can fly. Placing fledglings back into nests is typically only a short-term solution, as they will quickly re-emerge. Moving fledglings to entirely new locations is also ineffective as they are still dependant on their parents for survival and will quickly starve.
Once you placed the bird in a ventilated box, don't keep opening the box to check the bird or show all your friends and neighbors. Get the bird to a rehabber as soon as possible.
(This information was provided by Wildlife Center of the North Coast and Portland Audubon Society)