FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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: I found a baby bird what do I do? 

A: Please see our page here.

Q: I am having a rodent problem at my home or business, is it okay to put out rat bait or boxes?

A: No! It is never safe! Please head to our Rodent Control page.

 This baby Red-Shouldered Hawk came to ORC in spring 2014 and was quickly transferred to another center to be raised by a foster adult Red-Shouldered Hawk, until it is ready to go back to the wild.

This baby Red-Shouldered Hawk came to ORC in spring 2014 and was quickly transferred to another center to be raised by a foster adult Red-Shouldered Hawk, until it is ready to go back to the wild.

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: I have an inquiry about your Wildlife Education Program/ I would like to schedule a show

A: Please see our page here.

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 us at (805)649-6884.

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: What is the best time of year to trim trees?

A: Nesting varied widely depending on the species of bird but to be safe the best months to trim your trees are in the fall and winter months to avoid disrupting or harming nesting birds. Many bird species are cavity nesters and their nest may not be visible to the eye.

 Orphaned Northern Flickers, trimmed out of their tree.

Orphaned Northern Flickers, trimmed out of their tree.

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. You can also sign up for our newsletter by clicking the link at the bottom of this page. 

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.

  For data purposes all raptors are banded under USGS permits. This provides data in tracking species and patterns of migratory birds.   

For data purposes all raptors are banded under USGS permits. This provides data in tracking species and patterns of migratory birds.  

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 Donations 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: Ask your supervisor for the password and find the link on the bottom of any page of the ORC website.