Frequently Asked Questions and Wildlife Encounter Tips
We track all of our wildlife hotline calls to learn more information about human-wildlife conflicts in our region. Here are some tips and answers to commonly asked questions about wildlife encounters.
"I found an orphaned ________ with no parents around! What do I do?"
Do not assume the baby is orphaned or take immediate action. Unless you saw the baby get caught by a predator or see an obvious injury, further action might not be required. Look in the trees and listen for calls to see if the parents are nearby and observe from a distance in case the parents return. This step is important as it prevents potential "babynapping" situations on healthy fledgling birds just learning to fly as the parents watch from above or baby mammals left alone while the parent forages/hunts for food.
If the animal does indeed appear to be orphaned, take a quick photo and text it to Think Wild's hotline number: (541) 241-8680. Our highly trained staff or volunteers will be able to tell the age, condition, and species of the animal from the photo and talk you through what the next course of action should be. If asked to take to a licensed rehabilitator, please keep the animal in a quiet, dark, and warm location.
Please do not try to feed baby animals, as different species have very different nutritional needs and feeding improper diets can be very lethal.
"My cat caught a _______ and it appears to be injured!"
Even if no injuries or puncture wounds are noticed, the animal will have to be admitted to a licensed rehabilitator. Cats carry harmful bacteria in their mouth, and the smallest of wounds can be lethal to wildlife within 24 hours. Please contact our hotline as soon as you notice cat-caught wildlife! Please keep the animal in a quiet, dark and warm location without food or water (unless advised to do so by a licensed rehabilitator) and transport to a licensed rehabilitator as soon as you can.
In the future, please do not allow your cat to roam freely outside, especially during the Spring when baby animals are prevalent. There is a great local company called Elwing Works that constructs "catios" for your cat to roam outside your home while protected. This will prevent injury to wildlife and your cat.
"I found an injured/orphaned animal, and no rehabilitator will take it in because it is a non-native species! What are my options?"
Licensed rehabilitators are not allowed to accept non-native species. Your options are to leave the animal where it is to let nature take its course or for it to be humanely euthanized. Sometimes this is the best option to prevent suffering if the animal is injured.
There is a very good reason for having this restriction! A non-native species, by definition, is one that is living outside its native distributional range and was introduced into this range by humans, either accidentally or purposefully. The reason non-native species can be detrimental to an ecosystem is because they can outcompete native species for resources and sometimes can push native species to extinction. The native species are no longer able to find the resources they need because they have been depleted by the non-native species.
A way wildlife rehabilitation can help conserve native species and mitigate the detrimental impacts of non-native species is by only accepting and rehabbing native species. This gives native species a little bit more of a fighting chance against their non-native counterparts. Local non-native species include:
- Rock pigeons
- Eurasian collared doves
- House sparrows
- Virgina opossums
- Eastern gray squirrels
- European starlings
Eurasian collared dove
"A bird hit my window and isn't moving! What do I do?"
Don’t panic! If you notice blood coming from the mouth or an obvious fracture (i.e. severely drooping wing), please call our hotline and we will refer you to a licensed rehabilitator that can help! If no blood or obvious fractures, gently place the bird in a well ventilated box and keep the box in a quiet, dark and warm location for 1 hour. If the weather is extremely cold, you may need to take it inside, but don’t keep the bird too warm. Do not try to give it food and water, and resist handling it. The darkness will calm the bird while it revives, which should occur within a few minutes unless it is seriously injured. Do not open the box indoors to check on it or it might escape into your house and be hard to get back out! After that hour or two, gently take the box outside and open it. If the bird flies away, then all it needed was a little bit of time to recuperate and all is good! If the bird does not fly away, please call our hotline and we will refer you to a licensed rehabilitator.
Some ways to prevent window strikes:
- Avoid putting bird feeders right next to windows.
- Apply decals to your window, so birds are able to recognize your window as a barrier.
- Install screens over your windows.
- Apply one-way transparent film to the outside of the window.
"There is an injured deer in my yard. It looks like the leg is hurt. What should I do?"
Due to the size and stress level of deer, very little can be done with juvenile to adult deer. Any action, without proper techniques, can cause further injury. In the case that a deer is mortally injured, we can refer you to Oregon State Police and they will dispatch an officer to end the suffering of the deer. In some cases juvenile/adult deer can be treated in the field, but that is a case by case basis. We may be able to help with disentanglement or wound care. We recommend you give our hotline a call and we can evaluate the situation and see if anything can be done.
"There is a bird that has flown into my house and won't leave!"
The best way to get a bird out of your house is turn off all the interior lights and open all windows and doors (if possible). The birds will be attracted to the light outside and will leave out a window or door. Don’t crowd or try to chase the bird around, as that will likely cause more stress and the bird may injure itself by trying to evade you.
"A bird laid eggs in a precarious, or potentially vulnerable area. Can I move the eggs?"
If the nest is active and has eggs, it may be federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 depending on the species. It is illegal to tamper with the nest of a migratory species once active. If no eggs, then the nest could be relocated. Luckily, many of these birds, such as geese, are pretty ferocious protectors. If you have a question about whether the nest is made by a protected species, please call our wildlife hotline.
"It appears that an animal, likely a raccoon, has made a nest under my porch. What should I do?"
Trapping the animal is likely not humane at this point because the outcome will orphan the babies. If possible, do not let your pets near the area. Wait until the babies and mother leave, and then implement some humane exclusion methods to deter mother and babies from returning, such as soaking a rag in ammonia and leaving it by the area the animal is seen frequenting. The ammonia smell is noxious to the animals and they will likely avoid that area in the future.