Native Songbird Care & Conservation
Saving Native Songbirds One Bird at a Time.

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.

Interested in volunteering?  Attend an orientation!

2019 New Volunteer Orientations
Saturday, March 16, 10 am to 12 pm
Saturday, April 20, 10 am to 12 pm
Saturday, May 18 10 am to 12 pm

Registration is required.  To register, call 707-484-6502 or email

Orientations and trainings are held at Native Songbird Care & Conservation 8050 Elphick Road, Sebastopol.

BEFORE you attend an orientation:
Please complete the following documents and bring them with you to the orientation:  Volunteer Application and Shift Schedule.  This will help get you started and save a little time during the orientation. At the end of the orientation, you will be asked to schedule your training sessions.  Please bring your calendar with you so that we can select and secure your training session dates at that time.  Training consists of three consecutive 4 hour training sessions over the course of three weeks.  Training must be completed before you begin your regularly scheduled shift.

Our mission:  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 their health so that they may be released back to their free and wild lives.  Adult volunteers learn many aspects of our work as wildlife rehabilitators, including species identification, proper handling, husbandry, hygiene and safety precautions, and other essential skills needed to provide the best 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 a 2-4-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!

A Serious Commitment  
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!

All incoming volunteers are required to commit to a regular volunteer shift for the duration of our "Baby Bird Season", May through August.  Many volunteers continue to volunteer after this period, but this is the minimum we require.  During the winter, shifts are from 9 am – 11 am, Monday through Friday.  At any given time some shifts may be full and not taking new volunteers.

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 two internship positions available for the spring/summer season college students or recent college graduates.  Interns will learn and practice several aspects of animal care in a wildlife rehabilitation hospital.  The internship term begins mid-May and ends mid-August.  Positions are minimum 24 hours a week with strict adherence to the agreed upon work schedule.  Interns receive a stipend to assist with living expenses.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.  More information and instructions for the application process can be found here.

Volunteer Positions during Baby Bird Season

Hospital Volunteer
These are volunteers who aspire to work hands-on with the birds.  After Hospital Volunteers are proficient in all aspects of cleaning and basic animal care, they are eligible to begin their training to work hands-on with the birds.  Hospital Volunteers must commit to one 4-hour shift in the hospital per week, 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. 

Hospital Support Volunteer
These volunteers participate in a variety of tasks essential to good patient care such as preparing diets, folding laundry, setting up enclosures for our patients, sweeping, mopping, and more.  Hospital Support Volunteers work one 2-hour shift in the hospital each week.  These shifts are scheduled 7 days a week at 9 am - 11 am and 3 pm to 5 pm.

Transport Volunteer
Transport volunteers pick up animals from the public and other wildlife facilities and shuttle them to our hospital.  They may also transport animals from our hospital to other wildlife facilities.  Most transports are local (in Sonoma County), but we also have a need for long-distance transports.  Long-distance transports typically involve an occasional trip to Cordelia or San Rafael.  Transport volunteer is an on-call position.  One-on-one training is provided.

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.

Zoonotic Diseases
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.

Volunteer Training 
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.    

Job Opportunities!  Click here for more information.

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