Virginia Field Office
Northeast Region
Frequently Asked Questions about Wildlife, Birds and Bird Nests Environmental Contaminants Program Goals

Q: I found oiled wildlife. Who should I call?
A: Call Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research at 302-737-9543. Telephones are answered 7 days a week, 9 am - 5 pm. For additional information, visit their website at:

Q: I found an injured or orphaned wild animal. Who should I call?
A: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not have wildlife rehabilitators on staff. Call the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline toll-free at 855-571-9003, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. When the Helpline is closed, call your local veterinarian, humane society, or county or municipal wildlife agency to find the nearest qualified wildlife rehabilitator that can take and treat the animal. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries also maintains an online directory of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in Virginia, that you may search by location at:  The Wildlife Center of Virginia is available after hours for emergencies at 540-241-4045.

Q: Can I keep the bird and nurse it myself?

A: It is against the law to keep a bird, injured, orphaned, or otherwise, without the proper permits. In most cases, injured birds required specialized professional attention to survive and to be successfully reestablished in the wild.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations. The migratory bird species protected by the Act are listed in 50 CFR 10.13.

Q: What should I do if ospreys nest on my dock, boat, or house?

A: Ospreys, like other migratory birds, are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Sometimes landowners want to remove ospreys nests, because of their location.

Osprey nests can be removed without a permit from structures such as boats, docks, construction equipment, etc. as long as there are no eggs or young in the nest (inactive).

If eggs or young are present the nest is considered active. Active nest relocation or removal may only be undertaken by an authorized Federal, State, or local employee in the performance of their official duties as provided in 4 VAC 15-30-50, or by an individual authorized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the nest removal. Individuals interested in applying for a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit to remove or relocate an active nest may do so at: The permit process can be lengthy, particularly if the active nest does not pose a safety hazard, therefore removal of nesting material from nests under construction should be conducted on a daily basis to deter birds from nesting.

Q: What about bald eagles?
A: Bald eagles and golden eagles are protected under the Federal Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Specific guidelines to help landowners and land managers avoid disturbing bald eagles can be found at:

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Prevent impacts to wildlife from pollution, for generations of wildlife viewers to enjoy

Identify and investigate pollution effects on wildlife, so they will have a healthy future

Restore fish, wildlife, and their habitats that were adversely impacted by contaminants, so people can enjoy clean water, diverse wildlife and the beauty provided by these natural resources

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Last updated: August 24, 2018