IN CASE OF SICK, INJURED, or ORPHANED WILDLIFE:
CALL 707-224-HAWK (4295)

Please DO NOT EMAIL MESSAGES regarding sick, injured or orphaned wildlife who need help.

If a live person is not available right away, please leave a message! We respond to every message left.

Emails are not checked frequently enough to get you help in a timely fashion

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Do I need to help?

If the following is true, yes, the animal needs your help:

  • The animal is presented to you by a dog or cat (or you believe it was caught by dog/cat)
  • The animal was hit by a car
  • The bird hit your window and you were able to pick it up
  • Bleeding anywhere on its body
  • An apparent broken or injured limb or wing
  • Obvious head trauma, head tilts, convulsions
  • A featherless or nearly featherless bird on the ground
  • An animal that feels cold to the touch or is shivering
  • Evidence of a dead parent nearby
  • Seabird beached or stranded on land, or covered in tar or oil
  • Fishing hook injury: Do not attempt to remove the hook
  • Caught in fishing line, string, netting, its bill or muzzle is stuck
  • Ingestion of poison, antifreeze
  • Trapped in a vehicle or building
  • An opossum who has been hit by a car and may have babies in her pouch

If an animal has any of these signs, call our Hawkline at 707-224-4295 for assistance.

Maybe? Call the Hawkline to confirm:

Spotting a baby animal by itself does not necessarily mean it is an orphan or needs rescuing.  Many wildlife parents leave their young alone during the day, sometimes for long periods. The
 young need to remain hidden, or at least quiet, to survive.  Some animals watch their young from a distance so 
as to not draw attention to them.

Please leave animals in these situations alone:

  • A fawn (baby deer) curled up quietly is normal. Mothers stay away and return briefly to feed their baby or to move them at times of the day they feel safe
  • A bird who is feathered, has some tail feathers, and is hopping around on the ground but not able to 
fly might be a fledgling, or teenage bird learning to fly. Send a video to the Hawkline and we’ll help determine whether this is normal fledgling behavior for this species
  • A rabbit who is 4 inches long with open eyes and erect ears is able to fend for itself while its mother is
 away. The mother will return later, like with a fawn.
  • An opossum who is eight inches or longer, NOT INCLUDING THE TAIL- is independent.
  •  A squirrel who is nearly full sized, has a full and fluffy tail, and is able to run, jump, and climb is independent.

IF YOU ARE UNSURE, PLEASE CALL 707 – 224 – HAWK (4295)

Keep in mind that despite an animal’s small size, many young are independent enough to fend for themselves. Interference from humans unnecessarily reduces the chance of an animal’s 
survival. Do not attempt to rescue a healthy animal.

Ensure a safe rescue for both of you:

  • Do not handle the animal without consulting us. Even a small animal can hurt you. Contact our Hawkline for assistance. If the animal is a songbird, or a baby mammal without teeth, use gloves or a towel to gently pick up the animal. We can assist with the rescue of raptors and mammals with teeth.
  • Keep the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place. You can use a box with holes punched in for airflow. Line the box with a towel, old clothing, or other fabric that does not have loose threads.
  • Keep the animal warm. A heating pad on low works well. Make sure the animal can get to a cooler spot if desired by putting the heating pad under only half the box.
  • Never give the animal food or water! Wild animals have very specific diet needs and the wrong food, or the right food at the wrong time, can be fatal!  PLEASE trust us and do not feed or give any liquids to an animal, even if it seems to be begging from you.
  • Do not let pets, children or other people disturb the animal.  Wildlife see humans and pets as scary predators. Added stress from curious animals or people can easily cause death.
  • Bring the animal to us right away. The sooner we have it, the sooner it gets the help it needs.

Why bring the wild animal to us?

  • It’s illegal to keep a wild animal for a pet or care for it without a license. We are state and federally licensed to keep wildlife for rehabilitation. Want to help? You can always volunteer with us!
  • There are diseases that humans and pets can contract from wildlife. There are also diseases that domestic pets can transmit to wildlife.
  • We are trained to recognize and take care of injuries, illnesses, parasites, and other conditions that may be present. We can administer necessary medications, manage wounds, and stabilize an animal that is in shock. Not all veterinarians have experience with wildlife.  We consult with wildlife experienced veterinarians to get animals needed care.
  • We have the necessary caging, food, and equipment required for each species.
  • We are trained to care for an animal while preserving its wildness.  An animal who has lost its normal fear of humans and pets will not survive in the wild.  Raising and releasing a tamed wild animal is a death sentence.

I found a baby bird…now what?

Take a picture or video and call our Hawkline at 707-224-4295. They can better assist you. Different species and different ages of baby birds require different responses. The Hawkline operator will give you info on texting the picture or video and we can better assess the situation that way.

Please DO NOT feed the baby bird ANYTHING even if it opens its mouth. You can kill a baby bird by feeding it the wrong diet for its species or drown it by mistake, since birds can’t cough up fluid.

Do not panic if you or a child touched the bird. Parents will not reject babies touched by humans- imagine rejecting your child just because it smelled funny! If needed, we have instructions below on safely rescuing a baby bird who needs help.

Some species go through a period of fledging, or practicing how to fly, and spend this time on the ground and bushes with parents nearby. Other species leave the nest ready to fly and are in trouble if found on the ground.

If the baby fell from a nest:

Please do not renest it yourself. DO look for the nest. Please call the Hawkline, then bring the baby to the clinic. If it is not injured from the fall, we will help you reunite the baby with the family if it is safe for you to do so.

If a cat or dog brings you a bird, or you suspect the bird has come into contact with a cat or a dog

Please keep the bird warm, notify our Hawkline at 707-224-4295 and bring it to 4001 Middle Ave., Napa during business hours. After business hours, the Hawkline can advise you.  Any bird who has had contact with a cat or dog MUST receive antibiotics for bacteria present in their saliva.  The bird will be released back to its home area after the course of antibiotics.

How to Rescue a Bird

(Only adults should rescue birds)

  1. Prepare a container. Place a clean, soft cloth with no strings on the bottom of a cardboard box with lid (add air holes )or cat/dog carrier.
  2. Protect yourself. Wear gloves, if possible. Scared birds may use their beak or feet to try and defend themselves from you, and can cause injury to you.
  3. Cover the bird with a light cloth or towel. Gently pick up the bird and put it in the prepared container. Note where you found the bird. Wash your hands after handling the bird.
  4. Keep the bird warm, dark, quiet, and away from children and pets. If  the bird has few feathers, you’ll need to provide warmth. Put dry rice or beans in a sock, tie it shut, then microwave until warm but not boiling hot. Place the heat sock near the bird, so it can get closer if cold, move away if too hot.
  5. Immediately bring it to 4001 Middle Ave., Napa. Keep the bird in the container. When transporting the bird, keep voice and noise levels low. Do not play the radio/music and refrain from talking.
  6. We’ll receive the bird, give it an exam, and if healthy, may need your help to return the bird where it was found. Thanks for your help!

I found a baby mammal, now what?

Do I need to help, and if so, how?

If you find a baby mammal on the ground, it may not be injured or orphaned. Many wildlife parents leave their young alone during the day, sometimes for long periods. The young need to remain hidden, or at least quiet, to survive.  If it does need assistance, do not worry about briefly needing to move the animal. Parents will not reject their baby just because it was handled briefly by humans.

Any baby that is clearly injured or was caught by a cat or dog needs to come in for care. Otherwise, we have more species specific instructions below.


Squirrels

  • Fallen from nest: If the baby appears injured, please call the Hawkline and bring in. If it does not appear injured, take a picture, then call the Hawkline. They will have you text the picture and give further advice on reuniting the baby with the mother if possible.
  • Cat/Dog brought in: The baby will need antibiotics, even if it appears uninjured. Call the Hawkline and bring it in.
  • Whole nest of babies fell down: Take a picture and call the Hawkline. We will give further instructions on reuniting the family. Mother squirrels often have a backup nest, and if the babies are young enough, she may be able to take them to a new nest site.
  • Following humans, climbing on humans, trying to get indoors: This is the behavior of a desperate orphaned squirrel. Please call the Hawkline and bring in.

Squirrels are the most common babies that people try to illegally raise for pets. They are illegal as pets partially because when older they can be dangerous. Please bring us any orphaned baby squirrels as soon as possible so we can give them their best chance at a free, wild life.


Opossum

004 Opossum Juviniles JG 100_0401If you see a dead opossum, check to see if it is female and still has young in her pouch. If she does, bring in the dead mother with the babies still in the pouch. Do not attempt to remove the babies by yourself. If the opossum is less than 7 inches long from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and it is without its mother, bring it in. Any opossum that is lethargic and approachable in the daytime may also be in trouble.


Raccoons

If you find a nest of baby raccoons, leave it alone. The mother is often nearby.  It is illegal to trap and relocate nuisance wildlife. Avoid hiring trappers to catch and euthanize raccoons during their baby season- April-September. Instead hire a wildlife exclusion service to help you determine if a raccoon family is involved and how best to humanely evict them. If the mother has already been trapped and killed, and the babies still have closed eyes, WEAR GLOVES, gently place in a box with a soft towel, and call the Hawkline to bring in. If the babies have eyes open and teeth,  or you have found an injured adult raccoon, please do not attempt to rescue them yourself, call the Hawkline for rescue assistance.


Deer

A fawn (baby deer) may be curled upon the ground and appears approachable. The mother is likely nearby and watching you. If you have watched all day and are concerned, take a picture of the fawn that shows its ears. Call the Hawkline, they will have you text them the picture, and they can give you a better idea if the fawn is in trouble. A spotted fawn up and wandering and crying out is in trouble. Call the Hawkline for rescue help.

We can only help SPOTTED fawns. If you need assistance with a deer that does not have spots, please call Animal Control at (707) 253-4452.

 


Jackrabbits

Jackrabbits have a nest that is a shallow dugout on the ground. If you find a nest, leave it alone. Jackrabbit mothers will often not leave babies in the same place so if you find individual babies, leave them alone. A quiet small rabbit alone is normal. If a rabbit is caught by a cat or dog, it must come in for care and antibiotics even if it appears uninjured.

 

Foxes/Coyotes

It is common to see fox kits or coyote pups playing outside their den site during the day. The parent may be asleep in the den. If they are active and retreat into the den if approached this is normal behavior.

If they are lethargic, look skinny, or are covered in fleas or lice, they are orphaned and need assistance.  A solo pup or kit wandering during the day is also unusual. Call the Hawkline for rescue help.

Do not attempt to rescue foxes or coyotes on your own. Please call the Hawkline for rescue assistance.

 

Skunks

Skunk babies also will sometimes play around their den site during the day while the mother sleeps. The mother will lead them around to practice foraging when they are older.  Skunks can spray before they can open their eyes. Moving slowly with a towel in front of you is the best way to avoid being sprayed. A solo skunk baby out in the day, away from any potential den site may need assistance. If a dead skunk is seen on the road, and suddenly babies emerge, please call our Hawkline for further advice. We are also available to help with skunk rescues.


Bats

NEVER TOUCH A BAT WITH BARE HANDS! Bats are the most commonly rabid animal in California. We use special safety precautions to protect ourselves when working with these amazing insectivores.

If the bat bit a human, was caught by your cat or dog, or the bat was found in a room with an elderly, disabled, or sleeping person, or a child, please call Animal Control at (707) 253-4452. The bat will need to be tested for rabies for human and pet safety.

All bats in Napa are small. Truly baby bats are extra wrinkly and have very little fur. A baby bat on the ground needs help. If you find a bat on the ground or in a room that has not been occupied, or you saw it come in and have known where it was the whole time, please call the Hawkline for rescue assistance.

 


How to Rescue a Baby Mammal

(Only adults should rescue baby mammals.)

  1. Prepare a container. Place a clean, soft cloth with no strings on the bottom of a cardboard box with lid (add air holes if needed )or cat/dog carrier.
  2. Protect yourself. Wear gloves, if possible. Mammals can scratch even when they do not have teeth yet. If the mammal is an adult or has large teeth, please do not attempt to rescue yourself and call the Hawkline for assistance.
  3. Cover the mammal with a light cloth or towel. Gently pick up the mammal and put it in the prepared container. Note where you found the mammal- this is important for potentially reuniting the baby mammal with family. Wash your hands after handling the mammal.
  4. Keep the mammal warm, dark, quiet, and away from children and pets. If  the mammal is very young and has little fur, you’ll need to provide warmth. Put dry rice or beans in a sock, tie it shut, then microwave until warm but not boiling hot. Place the heat sock near the mammal, so it can get closer if it feels cold, move away if it feels too hot.
  5. Immediately bring it to 4001 Middle Ave., Napa. Keep the mammal in the container. When transporting the mammal, keep voice and noise levels low. Do not play the radio/music and refrain from talking.
  6. We’ll receive the mammal, give it an exam, and if healthy, may need your help to reunite the baby with its parents or return it to  where it was found. Thanks for your help!
  7. Caution: Wild mammals often have parasites and sometimes have diseases that can pass to your pets or even you. Please wear gloves, wash hands, and if the baby mammal touches your clothes, change clothes before interacting with kids or pets to be extra cautious and keep your loved ones safe.  If you used your pet’s cage to transport a baby mammal, please clean any dirt or debris in the kennel off with soap and water, rinse, and follow up by disinfecting with bleach or lysol according to the package instructions. Wash any soft items like towels or clothes that you used with the animal on the hot setting of the washer with bleach.

Found an aquatic bird? Call:

International Bird Rescue San Francisco Bay Center
4369 Cordelia Road
Fairfield, California 94534
[P] 707.207.0380 Extension 110

Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.