If you have found an injured bird, first observe it and determine if it is truly injured, a baby bird, or a fledgling. Birds are often injured by collision with objects like windows or cars. Nests can fall from trees or baby birds fall from the nest before they are ready to fly. In some species, the chicks leave the nest after hatching and their parents are always close by and will often signal the chicks to hide from predators. Just as we have to learn to walk, birds have to learn to fly and before birds learn to fly they, spend a lot of time on the ground.
If you find a fledgling (young feathered bird making awkward attempts at flight) it is best to leave it where it is. Its parents are likely keeping a watchful eye close by and will come down to feed it. Fledglings are especially vulnerable to predators, so keep your pets indoors. If you find a nestling (un-feathered or partially feathered baby bird) and can see the nest, you can return the bird to the nest. Most birds do not have a strong sense of smell and will not reject young that have been handled by humans. If a nest has been knocked out of a tree you can replace it or put it up high near the original nest location so long as it is safe from predators.
If you find an injured bird, carefully place it in a cardboard box and cover the top with a lid or towel. Put the box in a dark,quite area where it won’t be disturbed. Limit your interaction with the bird. If a bird has just been “stunned” by a collision it may be able to regain its senses after a short time and fly off on its own. It is important to keep the bird safe from domestic and natural predators. Do not try to feed or give the bird water.
It is illegal to care for wild birds in your home without a rehabilitation license and special permits. Many species require specific diets and care in order to thrive and be released back into the wild. We are fortunate to have local organizations that provide care for sick, injured or young birds and wildlife. Many of these are non-profit volunteer-run organizations with monitored hotlines. When you call you may have to leave a message and wait for someone to call you back.
CSU Channel Islands has been monitoring road kill across southern SB, Ventura, and northern Los Angeles for the past 12 years. They are seeking to test some theories about wildlife movement post-fire developed in the wake the 2013 Springs Fire. Part of this includes getting a much better sense of which species (and where) were killed now for the post-Thomas Fire. This online tool allows folks to report kills they see (on roads or anywhere) along with photos of the kill if they have those.
Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network hotline: 805-681-1080
For injured birds and small mammals. Although located in Santa Barbara, they can arrange for pickup from Ventura County.
Ventura Hummingbird Rescue: 805-320-2438
Volunteer rescue, rehabilitation and care for injured and orphaned birds. Non-native and domestic/exotic birds are welcome. Injured and orphaned wild birds should be brought to a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. Please do not attempt to care for one yourself. They need specialized diets and caging and State and Federal permits are required to care for them.
Ojai Raptor Center: 805-649-6884
The Ojai Raptor Center (ORC) is a state and federally licensed 501(c) (3) non profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of birds of prey and other wildlife, and to providing educational programs about wildlife and our shared environment.
Ojai Raptor Center is open 365 days a year. Please contact if you have an inquiry about wildlife in distress. It is illegal for non-permitted parties to keep or care for wildlife. Every species has specific social and dietary needs and should not be cared for by a non-professional.
Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute hotline: 805-567-1505
For stranded (beached) marine mammals (seals, sea lions, dolphins).