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

Join our team of caring and compassionate volunteers!

2021 New Volunteer Informational Meeting, Thursday, March 25 at 6 pm 
We have a limited number of new volunteer shifts and opportunities for the 2021 Baby Bird Season.  If you would like to learn more, please register for our upcoming virtual New Volunteer Informational Meeting on Thursday, March 25 at 6pm.  Registration is required. To register, call 707-484-6502 or email us.

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 their full 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.

Volunteer Opportunities during Baby Bird Season 2021

Please note:  All staff and volunteers are required to follow our Covid-19 Precaution Plan at all times.  Failure to observe guidelines set forth in the plan will result in termination of duties and dismissal from our program.

Hospital Volunteer

These are volunteers who aspire to work hands-on with the birds.  After Hospital Volunteers are proficient in Level I and Level II duties of hospital operations 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.  DUE TO COVID-19, our Hospital Volunteer shifts are staggered and limited to 3 hours, 8:30 to 11:30 or 3:00 to 6:00 during the Baby Bird Season.  This allows for proper physical distancing as our facility is small. 

After attending a New Volunteer Orientation, all incoming Hospital Volunteers will receive hands-on instruction as they work through the volunteer levels of hospital operations.    

The Hospital Volunteer position consists of three levels:

Level 1:  New volunteers work with a mentor and staff to learn how to properly perform basic hospital duties such as preparing hospital housing, doing laundry, preparing food, feeding and cleaning mealworm colonies, and other essential animal husbandry duties. Husbandry is the foundation for successful recovery of all of our patients and represents the majority of our work as wildlife rehabilitators. When Level 1 skills are mastered, volunteers can graduate to Level 2.

Level 2:  Volunteers who are proficient providing the basic needs of our patients may work with staff and mentors to learn how to care for the birds in the aviaries.  Aviary patients require fresh food and water every day, new enrichment, and clean housing.  Level 2 volunteers are also eligible to participate in releasing healthy patients back to the wild. 

Level 3:  Volunteers who have successfully completed level 1 and 2, are eligible to work with staff and a mentor to learn how to hand-feed baby birds.  They will learn how to safely and correctly administer food to baby birds, proper handling of babies, and cleaning hospital housing.  Level 3 will begin by working with 1-2 different species of a specific age group.    

Hospital Volunteer Requirements

  • Adult volunteers must be able to lift 25lbs, comfortably reach arms above head, be able to stand for 3-4 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 
  • All volunteers must complete, sign and turn in all required documents.
  • New volunteers will receive introductory hands-on training (12 hours).  Level I training occurs over the first four scheduled shifts determined by the volunteer and director.
  • Hospital Volunteers must commit to a 3 hour shift each week, May through August.  
  • Volunteers should be prepared to have fun, get dirty, follow instructions for safe and effective animal care, and learn a lot!
  • Volunteers working hands-on with the birds must be at least 18 years of age.

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 - 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.

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. Their need to remain wild is our utmost priority.  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 at 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.

Volunteers are required to wear closed-toe shoes at all times.  Short sleeve or long sleeve shirts, and pants are ideal, but shorts may be more comfortable during warm weather.  To minimize stress on our patients, bright colors or bold patterns are prohibited. Always wear something comfortable that 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.    

Other Volunteer Opportunities

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.  After attending a New Volunteer Orientation, all incoming Hospital Support Volunteers will receive hands-on instruction.

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.  The transport volunteer is an on-call position.  One-on-one training is provided.

Junior and Teen Volunteer Program - This program is temporarily suspended due to COVID-19
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 possess a high level of responsibility and maturity, and take seriously the nature of our work at NSCC.

Job Opportunities
Currently hiring for a part-time seasonal Songbird Care Technician.  Please visit our Indeed job posting for position details and application instructions.

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