Baby Birds or Nestlings Baby birds or nestlings have few feathers, get cold fast, and must eat every 20 minutes to stay alive.
First: If you find a baby bird, get the baby warm. Wrap it in a tissue, but loosely so it can breathe. Check for wounds, broken bones, blood or bruises. A bird taken from a cat is likely to be injured, even if it isn't bleeding. If the bird is alert, warm or gaping for food, it is likely not injured.
Second: Return an uninjured bird to the nest if you can see one. The mother will not reject the baby, nor smell a human scent. This is a myth. Birds do not have a keen sense of smell and the best place for that baby is back in its nest. Keep an eye out for nearby cats.
Third: If you can't find a nest or the mother, the baby is an orphan. Put the baby in a small box with air holes and take it to the nearest wildlife care center.
Fourth: A baby that is bloody, bruised, cold or not gaping for food is most likely injured. Do not try to feed the baby. It is easy for them to aspirate (choke) on the food or water that you are giving them. Put the baby in a small box with air holes and bring the bird to the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center.
Juvenile Birds or Fledglings
Juvenile birds or fledglings are usually fully feathered or have tufts of down. They are active and appear able to fly, but can't get enough vertical height to avoid predators or return to their home.
First: If you find a fledgling, the nest is probably nearby. If the bird is alert, mobile, hard to catch and has no apparent injuries, look for the nest and put it back. If there isn't a nest within reach or you can't see one, fashion a makeshift nest out of a small margarine tub and a crumpled paper towel. Secure it in a nearby tree or high bush; the parents will come back after all threats (you, children, pets) are gone. Monitor the nest to verify that the parents are again feeding the bird.
Second: If there are no signs of the parents, keep the fledgling in a box (remember the air holes!) and bring it immediately to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
For injured seabirds (pelicans, seagulls, or cormorants) or waterfowl (herons, egrets, or grebes), please flag down a lifeguard, alert the Harbor Patrol, or call the Wildlife Center. These birds are difficult to capture and can be dangerous. If you choose to take responsibility for the bird, throw a large sheet or a box over the creature. If possible, wear gloves and goggles when handling a wild animal. Consider how you will transport a large, struggling animal.
At times, a severely injured or starving creature will quietly allow you to pick it up and carry it to safety, but rescuing large wildlife adds an element of danger. If you should discover an injured or orphaned mammal, such as a raccoon, squirrel, opossum or coyote, please call your local police or animal control office for pickup, or bring it to the Wildlife Center for treatment. Be careful. These animals carry disease, and will give you a nasty bite as a reward for your rescue efforts. For injured mammals, we recommend that you flag down a park ranger, alert law enforcement, or call the Wildlife Center. If you choose to take responsibility for the animal, throw a large sheet or a box over the creature. If possible, wear gloves and goggles when handling a wild animal. Consider how you will transport a struggling animal.
Here is a list of animals that our center will NOT accept: (However if you call ahead we will direct you to a facility that can assist you)