Portland has a lot of wild animals, from birds to fury creatures, that need saving. So what’s a person to do? Where can you go to volunteer? Whether you have funds to donate, donated items to give, you can only volunteer from your desk, or you just want to put in some good old elbow grease, we’ve put together a resource guide for you to use on your journey to help wildlife in need in Portland. Here are two important wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers – and their volunteer options – for you to peruse. You’ll also find a list of What To Do’s that we hope you’ll share with others eager to help save wildlife.
Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centers
Portland Audubon’s passionate and growing community has loved and advocated for Oregon’s wildlife and wild places for more than 100 years. With the help of our vast network of advocates, nature enthusiasts, and partners, we inspire and connect people to nature through a variety of programs that are grounded in science and learning. Our mission: To inspire all people to love and protect birds, wildlife, and the natural environment upon which life depends.
- Injured Wildlife Hotline: 503-292-0304
- (all birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians)
- After hours animal emergency: Dove Lewis Animal Hospital at (503) 228-7281, or follow these instructions.
Wildlife Care Center- seasonal & year-round volunteer activities
Baby Bird season is just around the corner, please apply to volunteer, then you will attend a general orientation, followed by a series of online and in person training. We will contact you when we schedule more orientations. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our Wildlife Care Center (WCC). They work alongside staff in various roles to help provide care and support to over 5,000 wild animals per year. Our Wildlife Care Center (WCC) volunteers learn about wildlife rehabilitation while supporting wildlife care and educating the public about our conservation mission.
Seasonal Admissions Greeters
Admissions Greeters are responsible for assisting staff in the admission and documentation of new patients; this job primarily includes welcoming visitors, providing instructions on the patient drop-off procedures, and ensuring the information provided for each patient is as complete and legible as possible. This is currently a seasonal (May – August) position. This is a seated, outdoor role.
Seasonal Wildlife Care Assistants
Seasonal Wildlife Care Center Assistant volunteers are responsible for assisting staff in the care of animals inside the clinic and maintaining a clean and healthy environment for personnel & patients. Job consists of laundry, dishes, enclosure cleaning, food preparation, and other chores as well as assisting in daily weighing & medicating of patients. Requires standing work during most or all of the shift, also bending, lifting, standing, gripping, and repetitive fine-motor tasks.
Wildlife Care Assistants
Wildlife Care Center Assistant volunteers are responsible for assisting staff in the care of animals inside the clinic and maintaining a clean and healthy environment for personnel & patients. Job consists of laundry, dishes, enclosure cleaning, food preparation, and other chores as well as assisting in daily weighing & medicating of patients. Requires standing work during most or all of the shift, also bending, lifting, standing, gripping, and repetitive fine-motor tasks.
Mews volunteers are responsible for assisting staff in the care of animals housed in outdoor enclosures. Job consists of cleaning & setting up outdoor enclosures, providing daily patient enrichment & diets, monitoring & reporting on patient condition, upkeep of enclosures, tools, & grounds for the safety of personnel & patients. Requires bending, lifting, using a tall ladder, carrying, and walking on uneven ground.
Flight cage volunteers
Flight cages volunteers are responsible for assisting staff in the care of animals housed in off site outdoor enclosures. Job consists of cleaning & setting up outdoor enclosures, providing daily patient enrichment & diets, monitoring & reporting on patient condition, upkeep of enclosures, tools, grounds for the safety of personnel & patients. Flight cages volunteers report to the Care Center, then drive their own vehicle out to our flight cages at a remote location. Requires bending, lifting, using a ladder, carrying, and walking on uneven ground.
Wildlife Solutions Counselors
Wildlife Solutions Counselors are responsible for providing advice to members of the public who call and email the center for help with injured animals and wildlife conflicts. Callers leave voicemail messages and volunteers return the calls. Volunteers generally work in pairs, and new volunteers are always paired with an experienced mentor during training. Volunteers “Graduate” after minimum 4 months of experience, including at least 2 months of busy season, at which point can work alone and/or be paired with newer volunteer Seated, remote, phone- and email-based role.
Sanctuary volunteers help keep our extensive trail system and sanctuary grounds beautiful for guests and the native wildlife that calls it home. We welcome volunteers with special skills as well as those who may just want to on occasion. We have a regular weekly work party for volunteers who have gone through our screening. Training occurs during the volunteer shift, and depends on the volunteers’ skills and interests.
Community Outreach Volunteers
Portland Audubon is invited to many community events, celebrations and classrooms throughout the year. Volunteers assist in outreach and educating about our mission and our work. Volunteers are trained in the content of our educational materials as well as best practices in interacting with the public.
Backyard Habitat Certification Program (BHCP)
Portland Audubon & Columbia Land Trust teamed up to create a unique program that supports urban gardeners in their efforts to create natural backyard habitats. It’s through our collective efforts to transform urban landscapes that positive change is made. Together we make our cities a healthier place, for ourselves and for wildlife. Our community of Backyard Habitats is over 6000 strong, and growing every day. We currently work with sites smaller than one acre throughout much of urban and suburban Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah, and Washington counties. All you have to do is enroll!
Portland Audubon has long been a pioneer in involving the public in wildlife research and monitoring. Our community science projects span the urban environment in Portland to projects statewide including on the Oregon coast. We engage members of the public to help us better understand the ecology, biology, and natural history of birds and other wildlife so we can more effectively accomplish our conservation efforts and inform policy and management. Community Science projects vary in location, duration and required skills. You do not need to attend a Portland Audubon Volunteer Program Introduction to participate in Community Science – you may sign up here.
The impact of our efforts is written across Oregon’s landscape, and is fueled by grassroots engagement—a strong community of people working together to protect nature. Help us make positive change across the state by signing up to become a Portland Audubon activist.
There is no better classroom than the natural world. Whether watching a Bald Eagle steal a fish from an Osprey or listening to a Western Meadowlark across the Sagebrush sea, being out in nature gives us something that no book can fully capture. That’s why our classes, outings, field trips, and ecotours bring participants out into the field to experience nature through their senses. All while learning, building community, and understanding how they can help protect the wildlife and wild places we love so much. Join us on a morning bird walk, take one of our classes, or travel the globe with us on an ecotour, and continue to build your own authentic relationship with the natural world.
Fun, safe, educational! Environmental education is about creating a moment that inspires someone to fall in love with nature, to feel awe, wonder, and a connection to the natural world. Our vast array of hands-on programming sets the stage for youth of all ages to learn, play, explore, and develop their own personal relationship with nature. Through community partnerships, school-based programming, camps, and mentorship, Portland Audubon’s programs offer a welcoming and inclusive place for youth to connect with the natural world and each other.
Rare Bird Alert
Updated every Thursday, the Rare Bird Alert covers the entire state and details where and when rare birds have been spotted. This could be anything from an east coast bird that flew off course to an Oregon bird found in an unlikely location. If you’ve seen a rare or out of place bird, contact Brodie Cass Talbott to report your sighting: [email protected].
Join the annual Birdathon
Birdathon is the uniquely Portland Audubon way to help protect Oregon’s native birds. Now in its 41st year, Birdathon is one of our most beloved traditions, bringing people together to raise funds to protect birds while watching birds. Everyone is welcome – expert birders, casual birdwatchers and beginners! Like a walk-a-thon, Birdathon participants (Birdathoners) collect pledges and donations from friends, family members, and coworkers for finding and counting bird species. There are many ways to join Birdathon and make a difference for wildlife: In-person Teams, Virtual Teams, Solo Birdathon!
WCNC is licensed to treat most native Oregon mammals. Some common species we treat are American Beaver, Big Brown Bat, Brush Rabbit, California Ground Squirrel, Deer Mouse, Douglas Squirrel, Little Brown Bat, Long-tailed Weasel, Mountain Beaver, and Townsend’s Chipmunk.
WCNC is the only rehab facility in Oregon specializing in seabird care, but we are licensed to treat all native Oregon birds. Some species we commonly treat are American Crow, American Robin, American White Pelican, Anna’s Hummingbird, Bald Eagle, Barn Swallow, Brandt’s Cormorant, Brown Pelican, Common Murre, Mallard, Red-tailed Hawk, Western Gull, and Western Grebe.
Our mission is to promote compassion, empathy, and respect for all life through wildlife rehabilitation, ecological teachings, and wildlife conservation.
- Rescue Hotline: 503-338-0331
- (all birds, mammals)
- 89686 Hwy 202 Astoria, OR 97103
You’ll help directly with our patients, including cleaning their enclosures, assisting with swim time, preparing diets, medications, exercising, and more. These volunteers commit to one four-hour volunteer shift a week for a duration of 6-months or longer.
Not comfortable working directly with animals, but still want to help? We always need support with laundry, diet prep and cleaning tasks in order to keep our patients healthy, cared for, and comfortable. This assignment has the same minimum requirement as Animal Care. We do occasionally allow drop-in support for this assignment, with prior approval from the Volunteer Coordinator.
Reception volunteers commit to a regular weekly shift. This assignment is carried out in the admin room. Reception volunteers answer incoming phone calls to the wildlife hospital. Duties might include answering wildlife related calls as well as helping to arrange patient transport to our facility. Reception volunteers might also complete miscellaneous admin tasks such as entering patient records into an online database. Training is provided and no experience is necessary.
Because of our extensive service area – from Newport, OR to Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula – we rely on a network of volunteers to help transport patients needing our help. Volunteers for this assignment are “on-call,” and so there is no minimum time commitment. Transport volunteers that are located nearest the animal in need are contacted when we are alerted of wildlife in need assistance.
Assist with trimming the lawn, enclosure up-keep, and other hands-on projects related to keeping our patients safe and secure, and our center looking its best.
Help us cultivate a wildlife-respecting, conservation-minded community through education! We deliver age-appropriate educational presentations to schools and a variety of community groups.
Are you passionate about wildlife, environmental issues, and advocacy? We’d love to have you with us at community events! Help inform others about wildlife in need, collect donations, memberships, and more – and have fun doing it!
Want to help out with our Annual Founder’s Dinner? We are always looking for those able to help with check-in & check-out, set-up & break-down, and auction assistants.
During the Spring, we are inundated with demanding little creatures that require dedicated volunteers to wait on them hand and foot. These volunteers come in once or twice a week during the spring baby bird season, and devote their time to hand-feeding, cleaning, and caring for out tiniest patients. This assignment is as needed at the discretion of the wildlife rehabilitators.
What to do if you’ve found, sick, injured, or baby wildlife
Photo credit: Arturo Alvarez