How You Can Help


Donation Button

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Bird Refuge is a volunteer, non-profit, charitable, 501(c)(3) organization that depends primarily on generous donations of concerned, private donors. We keep costs to a minimum by careful use of resources and recycling.

None of our volunteers are salaried or receive financial assistance by Bird Refuge. They have other jobs to which make ends meet. Due to time considerations, this makes the rehabilitation process challenging since time is not plentiful and many volunteers are not able to return the following season.

Donations are used in many ways but the majority is put forward to food and maintaining shelter for the birds. The largest expense often is providing care for the Black Crowned Night Heron, partly due to their large consumption of fish. Many of our supplies are donated which helps reduce operating cost.


Rehab work with wild birds is demanding. Many permit holder burn out after a few years of service due to the constant demands. That's why our volunteers are crucial. We cannot do all the work alone. Together, we can make a difference. Even if you don't feel comfortable working directly with the birds but you love what we're doing, you can be involved. Your special talents can be put to good use. We're always looking for dedicated people to lend a hand. Check out some of our opportunities:

Supply and Tasks Assistance

Land owners/farmers: Release Locations - With the decline of farmland and woodlands we are having a much harder time finding release locations. We are always seeking areas of wooded areas, marsh/swampland, ponds or lakes. These regions need to be somewhat isolated from urban habitation and busy roads. Generally, this sites are used for less common species of birds. Several of the species are directly beneficial in that they consume 'pesky' insects and grubs.

Fishing: We need live minnows or small fish from fresh, safe sources. Perhaps you fish or know someone who does as a hobby. Do you know koi breeders who are overstocked with fish & or fry? Perhaps you have connections with fresh seafood shops?

Errand runner: make special errands (such as picking up supplies) or phone calls as needed.

Educator: trained to make special presentations to educate the public about how and when to help. Experience in public speaking and ability to work with audio-visuals helpful.

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Bird Refuge display.

Phone Dispatcher: answer phone calls to provide instruction to questions the public asks regarding concerns for injured or orphaned birds. May operate from home if in certain areas. Will need to have patience in working with the public.

Public Relation/Fundraiser: Doesn't mind asking store managers, and other organizations to make contributions of supplies, money certificates, or working towards grants. May entail coordination with local newspaper and TV news stations when they request information.

Fundraiser: generates special projects to raise support.

Carpentry: assist in repair work, maintenance and upgrades on flights. Perhaps you have building materials on hand that can be utilized in repairs.

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Building the heron flight by volunteers.
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Painting flight cages and cutting wire for aviaries.

Seamstress: sew cages with zippers

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Mobile flight cage sewn together.

Gardeners: need help in keeping immediate grounds around flight cared for and assisting in plantings around new site. Needed: Pine straw (from pesticide/insecticide free site) for bedding and potted plantings or cuttings for inside the flights to provide appropriate habitat and camouflage for birds.

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Volunteer breaks ground for landscaping around new aviary.

Painters: to apply preservative/sealants to flights before the season begins.

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Volunteer adds protectant sealant in new aviary.

Clean-up: major monthly cleaning, lighter weekly scrub-down of flights and brooder, or daily morning dish/bedding/nest clean-up washing and sweeping.

Technical Assistance: May be used for websites, development of training tools and presentation options, data-entry (record keeping), computer troubleshooting.

Introductory Involvement with Wild Birds

Transporter: respond to calls requiring pick up of injured birds or release to special sites. (Enjoy driving and know your way around the county?)

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Volunteers releasing rehabbed adult Canada goose.
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Release of state endangered, black-crowned night heron fledgling.
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Volunteers releasing rehabbed adult Canada goose.

Rehabber assistant: trained to do feeding rounds that will involve a minimal 3-4 hour weekly involvement from mid-May to mid-August. Assignments will depend on achievable skill levels as feedings require eye and hand coordination and a good sense of timing. Patience will also be needed.

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Feeding hungry chicks.
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Bathing adult Canada goose with impact injuries.
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Preparing clean nests for chicks after each feeding.

All Arounder: enjoys doing odds and ends as needed.

Experienced Involvement with Wild Birds

Bird-sitter: provide supervised care for pre-release birds and may have a small pre-release cage placed at your home site. Or, may provide overnight or weekend care for nestlings or fledglings

Rookery Monitor: maintains routine visits and surveillance of bird rookeries (such as Night Heron rookery) at designated parks. Learn to distinguish birds needing assistance.

Experienced Rehabber assistant: Able to perform skills as rehabber assistant and dedicate large periods of time during peak season. Very demanding work.

Professional Rehabber:

Transferring: Rehabbers in surrounding regions (with permits) that we can relay calls to concerning birds or animals. (Lancaster, Adams, and locations within Maryland in particular)

Rehabbers that wish to directly assist with experience in songbirds or waterfowl.


Food Items

The following food items are used in combination with other elements to create a specialized meal for the birds which varies depending on species and age.

  • Jarred baby food-chicken (Stage 1)
  • Mixed Vegetables: fresh or frozen (any combo of corn, peas, carrots, green beans: NO onions)
  • Fruit and Berries: fresh or frozen, unsweetened (apples, grapes, blueberries, etc.)
  • Fish: smelt, whiting, minnows or other, fresh or frozen
  • Sugar: white granulated
  • Wild bird seed-premium or cockatiel millet seed
  • Millet spray
  • Unsalted peanuts with or without shell
  • Waterfowl (ducks/geese) starter and maintenance
  • Native fruits and seed heads, rose hip, duckweed from ponds, chickweed from pesticide free sources
  • Gift Cards from Weis, Giant, etc.
  • Freeze dried insects found at pet stores
  • Live insects (crickets, mealworms, waxworms, etc.)
  • Mazuri Fish Analog Mix
  • Yogurt, Plain
  • Powdered Eggwhite
  • Kitten food (Super premium feline growth such as Evo, Eukanuba, Science Diet)
  • Exact or dry baby food cereal

Office Supplies

The following office supplies help with maintaining records (including archival), training events, and presentations to other organizations concerning our data.

  • Tape
  • CD-R data discs
  • Copier paper-colored and white
  • Stamps, postcards
  • Gift Cards (office, hardware, grocery, garden, etc.)

Cleaning Supplies

The following cleaning supplies are some of the more common items needed to help maintain the cleanliness of the facilities housing the birds.

  • Bleach
  • Dawn detergent
  • Purex laundry detergent
  • Paper towels, tissues, toilet paper (white)
  • Mr. Clean
  • Swifter cleaner cloths for wet mop
  • Broom
  • Sponges, scrubbing pads, squeegee, brushes
  • Shower curtains or plastic sheeting, clear

Garden Supplies

The garden supplies are used to help maintain open floors in the facilities, provide natural perches and plant life within the facilities, and to help provide a natural barrier around the facilities. This is important for the birds as they mature into adults to help orient them for survival after release.

  • Garden hose, 50-100' heavy duty
  • Pruners
  • Pavers/stepping stones (flat)
  • Planted hanging baskets
  • Evergreen trees or shrubs in large pots
  • Pinestraw (pesticide free)
  • Mulch
  • Timothy grass


Between weather and some of the larger birds that enter our system, wear and tear is quite common. Our facilities attempt to avoid harder materials that can harm birds, such as when in flight, however this comes at a cost of durability. Some of the other items are used to store food and equipment or to help provide feeding dishes for the more mature birds.

  • Latex paintbrushes and rollers
  • Polyurethane, varnish and/or clear sealant
  • PetDFence 48'
  • Grey Fiberglass screening, 36" wide
  • 1/2" PVC pipes and 3 way connector
  • 2-way black or grey upholstery zippers, 36-48" long
  • Reptariums, large
  • Feather dusters, natural
  • Ceramic Heat emitters , full spectrum lights and bulbs
  • Zoo Med porcelain clamp lamp
  • Rubbermaid, 18 gal. storage bins
  • Pool skimmers or bird nets

Please call and leave a voicemail to inform us that you plan to drop off items at the front entrance. We do not need to be present for donated items. You may request a tax-deductible statement for your donation. Thank You!