Native Bird Care of Sisters, a nonprofit rescue center founded by Elise Wolf, has grown substantially over the last 10 years. The rescue center started out in a garage in 2009 in Homer, Alaska, and has evolved to become the full center it is today, receiving nearly 200 birds annually.

A tiny shorebird, a Wilson’s snipe, was Wolf’s first baby bird, successfully raised and released into to the bogs of Homer, Alaska. From that experience she chose to dedicate her life to the care of orphaned and injured birds.

“We are delighted to be celebrating our 10th year of wild bird rescue and rehabilitation,” Wolf said. “It’s amazing that we have already come that distance in time. We’re very happy to have been able to help all the birds, animals, and people we have over this decade.”

Native Bird Care, as a non-profit, was birthed out of desperate need in 2016 following the closure of a larger facility in Bend. In 2016, nearly overnight, the patient intake rose from a minimal 20 birds a year to nearly 200, pushing the physical and financial abilities of Elise and husband Whitney. So, a few dedicated volunteers put the non-profit together and Native Bird Care became a reality as a full-on rescue center.

The rescue facility offers specialized care and rehabilitation for shore, water, and songbirds, with the goal of releasing healthy, hearty, and sound individuals back into the wild. Each species is unique, and the rescue center must cater to each type of bird and their appropriate needs in care and housing.

Sadly, millions of birds hit residential windows each year. Yet solutions are not hard or expensive. Native Bird Care offers a wide range of solutions.

Wolf noted, “One of the easiest solutions for window strikes is simply to hang parachute cord on an outside rod (there are now outside curtain rods) and attach the bottom so they do not swing.”

She added, “One of the best things we can possibly do for saving birds is to plant native species. Everyone has heard about bees and birds, too, are one of our most important pollinators in our forests and wild lands. Without birds, there would be no forests.” 

Native Bird Care relies on public support and dedicates 100 percent of donations to bird care, housing, or medical treatment. There are no paid staff; the facility runs through thousands of hours of dedicated volunteer time and effort.

Wolf said, “One of the most interesting and unexpected aspects to rescue is the human element. Caring for birds is a lot about caring for people too. People want to rescue animals in need, it’s natural for us. So today Native Bird Care’s mission is not only about birds, but also about relieving a person’s stress about finding an injured animal. Living among wild birds can be challenging as well and Native Bird Care has worked hard to search out solutions for all sorts of issues ‚ woodpeckers to swallows to window

deaths.”

Throughout these years there have been volunteers and people supporting the center’s rescue work. But now it’s a whole team effort — from people helping to transport birds, to handy folks fixing this and that at the facility, to those helping care for the birds. In addition, the center has only been able to do what it does because of individual donors who are dedicated to helping save their patients.

“Our postcard says, ‘It Takes a Village,’ and indeed that is true. We are so very grateful to everyone who has been part of this work,” Wolf said. “We look forward to helping our community of people and birds for many more years.”

To check out more solutions for bird questions go to www.nativebirdcare.org

Elise Wolf will be appearing at the Environmental Center in Bend on Thursday, May 30, from 7 to 8 p.m. with a bird talk, “Close Encounters of the Wild Bird Kind.”