Providing care for injured and orphaned wild birds is generally not a service of state or federal wildlife agencies. Here in New Jersey, as in most other states, the care is provided by people called avian wildlife rehabilitators (rehabbers).
To be an avian wildlife rehabilitator you must be knowledgeable in all aspects of bird care, pass a written test, and be licensed by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state in which you reside.
Some rehabbers work at home and receive only small numbers of birds each year. Others, like The Raptor Trust, operate large facilities that care for thousands of birds annually. All rehabbers are dedicated to helping wild creatures, and all provide their services free of charge. The goal of a rehabber is always is to return healthy, self-sufficient birds back to the wild.
Anyone who rescues a wild bird should get it to a licensed rehabilitator as quickly as possible. By doing so, you have broken no law and have afforded the bird the best possible chance of surviving and ultimately being free again.
There are avian rehabilitators located throughout New Jersey. To find one in your area, call one of the following:
- Hampton Office 908-735-8975 (8:30-4:30)
- Trenton Office 609-292-2965 (8:30-4:30)
- Law Enforcement 908-735-8240 (8:30-4:30) (Answering machine after hours)
Or try the following Internet resource:
How To Locate a Wildlife Rehabilitator You might consider locating a rehabber near you and keeping the phone number and address on file. That way no time will be lost should an actual emergency arise.
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