Gail Cochran–Bird Rescue Center of Sonoma County
Gail Cochran–Bird Rescue Center of Sonoma County
Gail came to present a program on the history of the Bird Rescue Center as well as detailed accounting of what activities take place in the facility.
The Rescue Center was founded in the 1980s and is located in Santa Rosa. It is a rehabilitation hospital for birds, including raptors. For the past several years they have admitted over 2000 birds to the facility, including those brought in by volunteers in the community as well as raptors who are rescued by special field rescue teams when found injured in the wild.
The birds go through a detailed evaluation on admission and then are kept for rehabilitation. Many of the birds are fledglings who are unable to fend for themselves in the wild and come in primarily for feeding which is done entirely with volunteer help. Success rate of returning birds to the wild is greater than 50% with most of their birds.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to put birds that have fallen from their nests back and have them be nurtured by their parents. Despite this, well over 50 or 60% of the birds brought to the facility are young birds that simply need time to mature before they are let go into the wild.
With some of the larger birds, including great horned owls, imprinting can occur making it very difficult for them to return to the wild. Intricate ways of feeding them that do not link them with humans make for a higher success rate of return. Although golden and bald eagles are present in Sonoma County, the bird rescue center is not set up to facilitate managing birds of such magnitude. They do not handle waterfowl, which are sent to a facility in Cordelia.
The Center is always looking for volunteers. They will have a Festival of Feathers on May 2 as their annual fundraiser at which time 21 resident raptors will be on display. In addition to this public event, they also bring school groups to the Bird Rescue Center for education. The county is currently donating space for the operations of the Bird Rescue Center.
Members seeking more information or wishing to volunteer can visit The facility is located at 3430 Chanate Rd., across the street from the old Sutter hospital in Santa Rosa.