Southern California Wildlife Rehabilitation Agencies:

CDFW South Coast Regional Office 858-467-4201
Wildlife Health Laboratory 916-358-2790
Cal-TIPS 800-541-4591


None of the birds most people encounter have a noticeable sense of smell. Therefore the parents do not reject their young because of human touch.

While mammals do have a good sense of smell, the parents also seldom reject their young because of human touch.

If a nestling bird (too young to walk) is not injured and the nest can be found, the bird should be put back in the nest. Keep out of sight and watch to be sure the parent(s) return.

Baby American Kestrel

If the bird is a fledgling (able to hop or walk) and is not sick or injured, it should be put in a leafy tree or tall shrub were it can hide.

Watch carefully, out of site, for at least an hour. The baby bird will “call” its parents, who will feed it in the tree.

If the baby hops out of the tree, try a different branch or a different tree – be persistent.

Make sure all cats are out of the area before doing this. If no parent shows up, call a wildlife rehabilitator.


If you find a baby mammal, observe it out of sight to be sure it is orphaned and not just “parked” there while mom finds food.

Call a wildlife rehabilitator before removing it from the wild.


If the bird or mammal has been injured, it needs medical attention.

Call a wildlife rehabilitator or a veterinarian who is experienced with wild animals.

If the animal is caught by a cat it most likely will need to be put on the correct antibiotics.

Approach any bird with sharp talons (toenails) and/or beak, or any mammal, with extreme CAUTION.

Use a box and a heavy towel or a box and a broom if it needs to be removed right away.

Do not feed birds or mammals until advised by a qualified rehabilitator.