Join our team of caring and compassionate volunteers!
A variety of volunteer opportunities for adults, juniors and teens are available at Native Songbird Care & Conservation. Help is needed with the hands-on care of the birds, aviary cleaning and enrichment, transport of birds to the hospital, releasing birds back to the wild, and housekeeping tasks such as food preparation, folding laundry and doing dishes. Our greatest need for help is during the baby bird season, May through September.
Attend an upcoming orientation to learn more!
2017 New Volunteer Orientations:
Wednesday, 3/15, 6pm
Thursday, 3/23, 6pm
Saturday, 3/25, 10am
Thursday, 4/20, 6pm
To register: 707-484-6502 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Orientations and trainings are held at NSCC, 8050 Elphick Road, Sebastopol
After you register for the Orientation
Please complete the following documents and bring them with you to the orientation: Volunteer Application, Training Sessions, and Shift Schedule. This will help get you started and save a little time during the orientation.
Junior and Teen Volunteer Program
In addition to our Adult Volunteer program, we also offer volunteer opportunities for juniors (ages 10-12) and teens (ages 13-18). Our Junior and Teen volunteer programs provide an opportunity for young people interested in wildlife and the environment to participate in our work at NSCC. Although they are not able to work hands-on with the birds, Junior and Teen volunteers serve as hospital support and carry out a variety of tasks essential to the care of our patients.
The typical commitment is a 2-hour shift every week once the initial training is complete. This is a wonderful opportunity to fulfill community service for school and learn about wildlife care! Junior volunteers are required to complete their training and attend all shifts at the hospital with an adult guardian volunteer (a parent or grandparent, for example). Teen volunteers will work independently or with an experienced volunteer during their shift. They are expected to posses a high level of responsibility and maturity, and take seriously the nature of our work at NSCC.
There are three internship positions available for the spring/summer season. Interns will learn and practice several aspects of animal care in a wildlife rehabilitation hospital. The internship term begins May 15 and ends August 15. Positions are unpaid, minimum 20 hours a week with strict adherence to the agreed upon work schedule.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. More information and instructions for the application process can be found here.
Rehabilitate and Return to the Wild
Native Songbird Care & Conservation cares for approximately 1,000 songbirds a year, from as many as 75 different species. We provide ongoing care for our patients seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year with a dedicated team of volunteers.
Our goal is to restore our patients to full health so that they may be released back to their free and wild lives.
Volunteers learn species identification, proper handling, hygiene and safety precautions, and other essential skills needed to provide care to our patients.
Hospital Volunteer Requirements
- Volunteers working directly with the birds must be at least 18 years of age.
- Adult volunteers must be able to lift 25lbs, comfortably reach arms above head, be able to stand for 4 hours on hard surfaces (the hospital floors are concrete), and have good visual acuity and hand dexterity (baby songbird mouths are tiny!).
- All volunteers must attend a New Volunteer Orientation (see above for upcoming orientation dates).
- All volunteers must complete, sign and turn in all required documents.
- New volunteers must complete a series of 3 training classes (12 hours).
- Volunteers working in the hospital must commit to one 4-hour shift a week, May through September.
- Volunteers should be prepared to have fun, get dirty, follow instructions for safe and effective animal care, and learn a lot!
We ask potential volunteers to seriously evaluate their schedules and other commitments before they join our volunteer team. Our hospital is 100% volunteer driven and our patients depend on us for their food, housing and medical needs. Volunteers are expected to attend their scheduled shift every week, and missing a scheduled shift can impact our patients' lives!
We ask all incoming volunteers to make a commitment to a regular volunteer shift from the date of their first training class through our "Baby Bird Season", May through September. Many volunteers continue to volunteer after this period, but this is the minimum we require. Each trained volunteer must commit to one 4-hour shift in the hospital per week. You will volunteer on the same shift every week.
Shifts are scheduled 7 days a week at 8 am – 12 pm, 12 pm – 4 pm, 4 pm – 8 pm during the Baby Bird Season. During the winter, shifts are from 9 am – 12 pm. At any given time some shifts may be full and not taking new volunteers.
It is a Dirty Job!
Our work is tedious, dirty and often physically demanding. Most tasks involve cleaning, carrying things, bending down, and being on your feet for the duration of your shift. There's a lot of bird poop, dirty things, and live insects involved. If you're squeamish or don't like cleaning, please consider on our other volunteer opportunities such as administrative, educational outreach or transport.
Please dismiss any images of Snow White from your imagination! We are working with wildlife and must take care to respect their wildness. This means we do not cuddle or talk to our patients. If you're seeking an opportunity to connect with and cuddle animals, please consider volunteering at a domestic animal rescue.
Health and Safety
Volunteering with wild songbirds involves some inherent health risks and we are committed to minimizing or eliminating these risks. Protective clothing such as gloves, eye protection and face masks is required when conducting certain tasks around our patients. Volunteers who do not follow proper safety precautions in the hospital will be asked to leave our program.
- It is recommended that people with compromised immune systems do not volunteer in wildlife rehabilitation.
- We recommend that anyone volunteering at NSCC inform their regular doctor that they are working with wild songbirds.
- Pregnant women are not allowed to volunteer with the animals at NSCC.
- Proper safety and hygiene precautions must be followed at all times.
- Volunteers are required to have a current tetanus vaccine.
All animals can carry, contract and spread various diseases, and the wildlife we handle is no exception. Although many diseases are species-specific, some may be transferred between species and to us. Diseases we can contract from animals are called zoonotic diseases or zoonoses.
Zoonoses are a concern in wildlife rehabilitation, however proper hygiene (washing hands before and after handling animals, eating, or using the washroom) and proper safety techniques (wearing gloves or masks as required) greatly minimize risk.
Volunteers with Pets
Some diseases that are not transmittable to us may be a danger to pets. Potentially sick wild animals must never come in contact with domestic animals. To keep risk of exposure to you and your pets, observe the following:
- Keep a separate set of clothes and shoes for volunteering at the hospital. After working a shift a the hospital, remember to change out of your hospital clothes before going into pet occupied areas of your house.
- Volunteers with pet birds should be especially cautious as some avian conditions may be more easily transmitted between our patients and pet birds. Wash hands frequently and well, and change clothes before handling pet birds. Be sure to inform us if you have pet birds so that your contact with contagious patients can be minimized.
After attending a New Volunteer Orientation, all incoming volunteers are required to complete our 3-class New Volunteer Training Sessions, a total of 12 hours of instruction in animal care and hospital operations.
Volunteers are required to wear closed-toe shoes at all times. Other clothing guidelines are at the volunteer’s discretion, but we recommend comfortable long sleeves and pants. Always wear something you do not mind getting dirty! Volunteering at the NSCC hospital is very hard on clothing. Most volunteers have separate clothing they change into when they arrive. Medical scrubs are always a good choice.