Help! I have a Bird Emergency!
I want to report a concern …
I found an injured bird …
I found an orphaned bird …
I want to report a bird band …
My urgent issue isn’t listed …
First, THANK YOU for your concern. We need the help of citizens such as you to report when concerns arise. Your input is valued and important for bird conservation.
The Service has an Office of Law Enforcement which investigates concerns regarding violations of wildlife laws, such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. You can contact the Office of Law Enforcement by visiting their website and clicking Contact Us or calling:
If you have a concern, but don’t want to get someone in trouble, it is still appropriate to contact the Office of Law Enforcement. Our goal is help people get into compliance, not arresting people. However, you may contact our program if you would rather not contact the Office of Law Enforcement.
If you find an injured bird:
- If the bird is not in immediate danger, please take at least 20 minutes to observe its behavior from a safe distance that will not distress the bird. Often birds are just stunned and need time or are waiting for a parent.
- From a safe distance, try to observe if there is an obvious injury.
- If you do not see an obvious injury, contact your local Avian Disease Hotline [HI - (877) 275-6569, ID - (877) 550-BIRD, OR - (866) 968-2600, WA - (800) 606-8768]
- If you see an injury, please call your local rehabilitation center to receive instructions BEFORE doing anything else. If you do not have a local rehabilitation center, you can call your local veterinarian.
- Need help finding a bird rehabilitation center in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, or Washington? Please call (503) 872-2715
“I found a baby bird, what should I do?” The correct answer is “Nothing.”
- Some baby birds are ready to leave the nest within minutes of hatching. Other birds stay near the nest while they grow, but often move from the nest to the ground to finish their education before they are fully able to fly. By removing the baby bird, you are taking it away from its mother and best chance for survival!
- Baby birds that appear abandoned are often just waiting for a parent to return. Adults often leave young to hunt for food. If you are concerned, watch the bird from a safe distance for at least 20 minutes and see if parents return.
- If you are worried about a cat hurting a bird, do something about the cat, not the bird!
- If you find a very young bird, it is still best to leave it. Parents often remove chicks that are ill or have parasites to prevent other chicks from getting sick.
- If you just can’t leave the bird there and the nest is easy to reach, you can return the bird to the nest. You do not need to worry about the mother abandoning the nest due to your scent because most birds do not have a good sense of smell. However, you do need to worry that you may be leaving a sent trail for predators, so it is wise to not touch the bird if at all possible.
- If you firmly believe the bird is orphaned, contact your local rehabilitation facility.
- Need help finding a rehabilitation center in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, or Washington? Please call (503) 872-2715
Reporting a Bird Band
Reporting Bird Bands is essential component of bird conservation science and management. If you saw or found a bird with a leg band or other human marking (telemetry, etc), please record all information that you can (species, type and location of marker, band number if you can read it) and report it at www.reportband.gov. Resightings and recoveries of bird bands are extremely helpful to bird conservation. Thank you!
Urgent Issue Not Listed?
Please search the rest of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website. If you still don’t have an answer, please contact us or call (503) 231-6164.