You Found a Waterbird. Now What? 

If you are unsure if the animal is sick, injured or orphaned please call our free advice hotline at 707-526-9453

Animal Drop Off: 403 Mecham Rd, Petaluma Ca 94952            

Hours: 9am-5:30pm seven days a week

*If you find an animal after hours please call our rescue hotline at: (707) 526-WILD (9453)
While you are waiting for a call back from a volunteer, click here for proper housing directions.


Waterbird Care 

Waterbirds require very specialized care. At our center we specialize in the stabilization of waterbirds to prepare them for transfer to a center set up just for them. International Bird Rescue in Cordelia has enclosures with pools designed for waterbirds.

Almost all waterbirds that find their way to SCWR are transferred to International Bird Rescue and a small donation would be greatly appreciated to help fund the drive to Cordelia. Click here to visit International Bird Rescue's website.

Feeding an animal can potentially kill it. It is best to put them in a dark quiet place and wait for a professional to evaluate the condition of the animal.

Many animals can die from stress. To avoid this, leave the animal alone, do not handle it, check on it or look at it unless absolutely necessary.


If the ducklings are stuck in a pool, they must be provided a ramp in the corner to get out- anything sturdy to form a gentle slope they can climb.

Once they are out, they can be herded away and blocked from re-entering.


Animal Regulations 

It is illegal to keep wildlife longer than 48 hours if you are not a volunteer or a staff member of a licensed wildlife rescue.

This helps protect wildlife from unnecessary stress caused by untrained members of the public and ensures that they receive the most appropriate care for their individual needs. Members of a licensed wildlife center are required to take 2 hours of continuing education to make sure they are refreshed on all the latest care techniques.

Please do not try to care for wildlife. They require very special care so they are releasable back into the wild.

How You Can Tell if an Animal Needs Help 

Here are some general signs to look for:

  • The wild animal is presented to you by a cat or dog
  • Bleeding
  • An apparent or obvious broken limb
  • A featherless or nearly featherless bird (nestling) on the ground
  • Shivering
  • Evidence of a dead parent nearby
  • Spotting a baby animal by itself doesn't necessarily mean it's an orphan. If a wild animal exhibits any of the above signs, you should immediately call our hotline 707-526-WILD (9453).


Important Questions to Consider Before You Call 
Can the bird fly? We would like to be prepared to catch a bird that can fly away from us.
Can you safely catch it without using your bare hands? If not, keep an eye on the animal and wait for help.
Do you have a place to put the bird until you are able to transfer it to the center?
Is it a baby with a nest nearby?
*This information will be important to the volunteer who returns your call.*