Wildlife Rehabilitation

Baby shorebirds should receive care from a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Wildlife rehabilitators are trained to provide care for wild animals. They are licensed to do so by provincial and/or federal governments.

Baby shorebirds need a specialized diet, species-specific housing, and medical treatment that you cannot provide at home. They also have to be raised with other baby shorebirds to learn the social behaviours they need to survive in the wild.  It is illegal to keep any wild animal at home without a permit for longer than 48 hours. Please contact a wildlife rehabilitator right away for help with the shorebird you have found.

Help for baby shorebirds within the GTA

If you have found a baby shorebird within the GTA (including Toronto, York Region, Durham Region, and Halton Region), call our Wildlife Hotline at 416-631-0662 and leave us a message. Our hours are 9am-6pm, seven days a week (yes, even on holidays!).

Some municipalities hold contracts with other wildlife service providers. If you’re a resident of these areas, please use the contact number listed below to request assistance.

If you are in the cities of Markham or Richmond Hill, contact the OSPCA. You can reach them at (905) 898-7122.

If you are in Aurora, Newmarket, or Georgina, please contact 1-877-979-PAWS.

If the baby you have found is not a shorebird, please go back to our species selection page. 

Help for baby shorebirds outside of the GTA

There might be another wildlife rehabilitator closer to you who can help. Please check the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s complete listings. 

If you cannot reach a wildlife rehabilitator closer to you, call our Wildlife Hotline at 416-631-0662 and leave us a message. Our hours are 9am-6pm, seven days a week (yes, even on holidays!). Please note that during the spring and summer (when most babies are found) our hotline gets very busy. It may take longer to return calls from further afield.

If you cannot reach a wildlife rehabilitator right away

Keep trying. Wildlife rehabilitators are very busy, especially during the spring and summer. If you get an answering machine, leave a message and make it easy for them to reach you. Call around to others in the area. Be willing to arrange transportation for the animal once a rehabilitator is found. Remember that there is no government funding for wildlife rehabilitation in Ontario, and all rehabilitators are funded entirely by private donations.

You cannot keep the baby shorebird or care for it yourself – it needs specialized care that you don’t have the means to provide. Keep it in a cardboard box in a dark, quiet, place. Make sure it has a heat source, like a hot water bottle.  Don’t give it any food or water until you’ve spoken to a wildlife rehabilitator. Further temporary care instructions can be found here.