FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: I have an inquiry about your Wildlife Education Program/ I would like to schedule a show
A: For inquiries about our Wildlife Education Program please call us at (805)649-6884 or email us at email@example.com. You can also read more about our program here. Shows can be scheduled for public or private events as long as the setting is safe and appropriate for our live bird of prey education ambassadors.
Q: I would like to volunteer at the Ojai Raptor Center, what do I do?
A: If you are interested in volunteering with the Ojai Raptor Center please see our Volunteer Information page. Thank you for your interest!
Q: I have found a sick, injured, orphaned bird or other wild animal, what do I do?
A: If you have found a wild bird or animal that you believe to be in distress please call the Ojai Raptor Center at (805)649-6884. If you believe this is a baby animal or bird please read on to the next question. If you reach our answering machine, please listen to instructions. It may be that we are outside feeding or cleaning and will return your call as soon as we can. If you have contained the bird or animal, keep it in a warm, dark and quiet place until you can get it to professional care, do not attempt to give it food or water.
Q: I found a baby bird what do I do?
A: If you find a baby bird or animal it is best to first observe the situation before taking action. Many times baby birds are found on the ground and people believe they are in danger or have been abandoned. A lot of times this bird will have just fledged, which means it is learning to fly and it is normal for it to be on the ground, in most cases the parents are still taking care of it. If you can safely put a baby bird back into its nest, or nearby tree branch, this is the best case scenario. The myth of birds abandoning their babies after being touched by humans is not true. Most birds do not have a developed sense of smell. If it is otherwise out of harms way (away from dogs, cats, traffic etc.) the best thing to do is to try and renest it, move it to a safe place where the parents can get to it or leave it alone. If you already have the bird contained, keep it in a dark, quiet warm place- do not attempt to feed or give it water. If you believe the bird is in imminent danger or you have questions about your specific situation, call us at (805) 649-6884.
Q: If I found a baby bird can I just raise it or nurse it back to health myself?
A: We know the desire to keep a baby bird or animal is strong, and that the thought of handing it over to a wildlife rehabilitation center might be hard. Despite what your heart might be telling you, we can't stress enough- it is always in the best interest of the baby bird or animal to stay in the wild if it is safe, or to go to an experienced rehabilitator. Wild baby birds/animals have specialized medical, dietary, and social needs that should be determined by trained and licensed rehabilitators for the health and safety of the animal. All raptors and wild native birds are also protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act and keeping them in captivity for any length of time without a permit is illegal. Baby birds are also highly susceptible to imprinting.
Q: What is imprinting?
A: Imprinting is an irreversible social psychological disorder in animals that occurs when humans try and raise them. When a baby bird is fed/taken care of by a human when it is 4-6 weeks old or younger, the bird will no longer associate or recognize its own species. Imprinting is not equal to domestication. If you find yourself caring for a baby wild bird, you may think the bird is thriving because it's alert, eating and seems to be "fine," but it may have some serious health problems and imprinting may have already occurred. When imprinting occurs the bird will never be able to feed itself, mate or reproduce in the wild and therefore would never survive in the wild if released. By keeping a wild bird and unintentionally or intentionally imprinting it, you sentence it to a life in captivity or worse. Imprinting is one the most common "injuries" but it is also one of the most preventable. We strive to give every bird the best chance at survival in the wild, which means having to put our natural instinct to nurture it aside and do the right thing by getting it to professional care. Six of our education ambassadors are imprinted birds, their chance to remain wild was taken from them by humans who were probably trying to help them but were unaware of the possibility of imprinting them.
Q: How do you receive the birds and animals that come to the center?
A: Birds and wildlife that are received by ORC are from the public, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, veterinarians, and other shelters or wildlife rehabilitation centers. 85% or more of the cases we receive are in need of help because of some human cause. We receive so many birds from car strikes, rodenticide poisoning, displacement from nests as babies because of tree trimming, or people trying to care for them improperly. To help us reduce the number of birds of prey and wildlife that will need intervention please see our Take Action page.
Q: Do you only take in birds of prey?
A: No! We can take in any wildlife that may be in distress. We can triage any species at our center, if it is not one that we specialize in, we stabilize them at ORC, and then a professional team of transporters will take the animal to a more species specific center or rehabilitator. We work continuously with other wildlife rehabilitation centers throughout California and beyond.
Q: Are you open to the public? Can I come for a visit?
A: The Ojai Raptor Center is not open to the public, except during our biannual Open House. To find out the date of the next Open House, click here. You can also keep up to date with us by liking us on Facebook, and following us on Instagram
Q: Are there any upcoming Ojai Raptor Center Events?
A: Visit our UPCOMING EVENTS page.
Q: What is a raptor?
A: A raptor is a bird of prey that uses its sharp talons to catch and kill live prey. The word raptor comes from the latin word rapere which means "to snatch" or "grab." People often group Vultures into this category but they are not genetically related, and do not hunt live prey.
Q: Where do your education birds come from?
A: All of our education ambassadors came to us for rehabilitation and are non-releasable due to some kind of permanent injury that would make it impossible for them to survive if released. None of our birds were taken from the wild as healthy birds. Learn more about each of their stories here.
Q: Is Ojai Raptor Center a legal rehabilitation center?
A: Yes, we are state and federally licensed.
Q: Who funds your organization?
A: We are a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit and depend solely on donations and volunteer efforts. We receive no federal or state funding.
Q: I would like to donate to the Ojai Raptor Center, how can I do this?
A: To donate online please visit our Donate/Sponsor page. To donate over the phone call us at (805)649-6884. You can also mail in a donation to our P.O. Box 182, Oak View California 93022. To donate a much needed item to our hospital from our Amazon Wishlist click here. Thank you
Q: I am a current volunteer, how do I get to the Volunteer Resources page?
A: The Volunteer Resources Page is under construction.