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Frequently Asked Questions

Bird deaths are upsetting. Something good can come out of it. 

Strike-proof your windows and consider donating dead birds in good feather condition to the following cause:

Liberty Wildlife Feather Repository is a feather bank that is permitted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to accept, hold, and distribute feathers to Native Americans for religious and ceremonial purposes. To donate your dead bird to the Feather Repository please wrap it in a paper towel, put it in a Ziploc bag and keep frozen until further transportation. 

Due to limited space, Liberty Wildlife is not able to take all submissions.

If you find an injured bird, please contact the organizations below:

  • Tucson Wildlife Center: (520) 290-9453
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation in Northwest Tucson: (520) 743-0217
  • Southern Arizona Hummingbird Rescue: (520)-404-9949
  • 1 part sugar
  • 4 parts water (filtered or boiled); letting the water sit out for 24 hours ahead of time will help dissipate any chlorine from the tap water

Make sure sugar in solution is completely dissolved before filling the feeder. NO coloring is needed, and coloring is discouraged.

Keep feeders clean and maintained—try to change the solution every day or two, especially in warmer weather. Clean feeders every time you fill them. Soap residue can be harmful to birds, try vinegar and water to clean. Use a brush or similar device to clean inner surfaces. Rinse thoroughly before refilling.

Bees tend to swarm feeders only at certain times of year; perhaps when flowers are less abundant or water sources are harder to find.

The most effective thing to do is to simply take the feeders down for a week or two. The hummers will be fine, and the bees will hopefully move on. You can also lower the sugar content of your solution to a lower sugar to water ratio, such as 1:5 or 1:6.

Another option is to buy a saucer-shaped feeder in which the nectar sits far enough below the small opening that bees can’t reach it, while hummingbird bills can. These feeders are available in Tucson Audubon Nature Shop.

Woodpeckers can be destructive to feeders and also drain them quickly.

You can purchase feeders that are more difficult for them to use—Tucson Audubon sells a tear-drop shaped feeder with a concave bottom and no perches that the woodpeckers find very difficult to exploit. You can also remove the perches from your feeders since hummers don’t need them. Or, you can just enjoy the antics of the woodpeckers!

During migration in spring and (especially) fall, two species of nectarivorous bats migrate through southern Arizona; the Mexican Long-tongued Bat and the Lesser Long-nosed Bat. They are the culprits behind the empty feeders. If this bothers you, take the feeders down at night for the few weeks during which they migrate through.

Or, simply go out and enjoy the show! VIDEO: Bats at a feeder.

Note color of band(s), which leg (right or left), order on leg (if there are multiple on the leg), and any numbers or ID marks that can be read.

  • Bird Banding Lab: 1-800-327-2263
  • Domestic Pigeons: 1-800-755-2778

If you find a dead bird, it’s better to leave it and call the number below. If you want to move it, be sure to use a bag or gloves and clean your hands afterwards.

  • Pima County Health Department: (520) 740-3191

If you find a raptor nest on a power pole and are concerned the birds might get electrocuted due to close wires, call Tucson Electric Power’s (TEP) Raptor Protection Program at (520) 623-7711.

If you find an electrocuted (and likely dead or highly injured) bird, call both TEP and AZ Game and Fish at (520) 628-5276, ext 4446.

Most raptors, especially one large enough to attack a small dog, stay well away from human activity. 

Keep in mind that it is very rare for raptors to attack domestic pets. Great Horned Owls probably pose the greatest threat but even they only weigh up to about 5 pounds and cannot carry anything heavier than their own body weight. 

So if your small domestic animal disappears from your yard it is more likely that a coyote came over the wall. Still, raptors can attack pets even if they can’t carry them off. When you are out, keep your pets on a leash and watch them when in your yard.

There are several reasons that a once-busy feeder has gone unused. Birds, of course, move around seasonally, and much of the activity at feeders is also seasonal. If your feeder is a new one, it may take your neighborhood birds a while to know that it’s one they can return to. Predators can also affect your population of feeder birds—if Cooper’s Hawks or other bird predators learn that your feeder attracts smaller birds, that could eventually reduce the number of birds who come to visit.

During the breeding season, many birds become more aggressive with other individuals of their own species. It may appear that they are admiring themselves in the window, but in fact they recognize the image reflected in the glass as a rival of their own species. Their instinct is to chase away the competition by fluttering at the window or pecking at the reflection.

To discourage these aggressions, you can use a cut-out owl or hawk silhouette applied to the window. A light inside the window might reduce the reflection. The most effective solution is to temporarily cover the offending window area until the bird is satisfied he has emerged victorious. You can even tear out a page from a magazine that has a big face on it and tape it to the window. It can be removed in a day or two and kept on hand if the bird returns to peck again.

Bird baths and wildlife water dishes are available at a variety of locations. The key is to keep them clean. Clean and refill them frequently, especially in warm weather when disease-causing organisms may be transferred from bird to bird via water.

Ponds and other large water features are not necessary and may waste scarce water to evaporation. A good option is a small dish with a recirculating drip, which helps attract birds.

I found a baby bird...Now What?

Yes: Call a wildlife rehabilitator (see above for contact information). If one is not available, call the state wildlife agency (see below for contact information) or call a vet. If unable to reach any of these, go ahead and attempt to rescue the bird following the steps in the section below titled How to Rescue Baby Birds.

No: See the next question

Yes: It’s a fledgling and it is normal behavior to be hopping on the ground, parents will feed it. Is it safe from cats, dogs and people? If it is safe, leave the area as the baby is okay. If it is not safe, put the bird in bushes or on a tree limb nearby. Watch it from a distance and look to see if the parents are nearby. If you do not see the parents, call a wildlife rehabilitator. If you do see the parents, leave the area as the baby is okay.

No: It’s a nestling and it needs help, can you find the nest and is it intact? If it is okay, put the baby back in the nest and then observe from a distance to see if the parents are visiting the nest. If not, call a wildlife rehabilitator. If they are visiting the nest, leave the area as the baby is okay. (If you can’t find the nest or it is not intact, make a substitute nest by poking holes in the bottom of a berry basket or margarine tub; line it with dry grass and the old nest parts or pine needles and hang from a nearby tree. Put the baby in the nest and then observe from a distance to see if the parents are visiting the nest. If not, call a wildlife rehabilitator.)

If you know the mother is dead, or if the baby is injured, call a wildlife rehabilitator right away. If the baby is separated from the mother and you know where she is, place the baby close by so she can hear it. Watch from a distance.

If mother is not found or does not claim baby within an hour, call a wildlife rehabilitator. If you cannot reach one, rescue the baby using the instructions in How to Rescue Baby Birds.

Hummingbirds with injuries generally cannot be “rehabilitated.” However, young birds can be successfully “rescued,” raised and released, if you are absolutely sure no parent is taking care of them. As noted above, if you find a young, uninjured hummingbird out of the nest and unable to fend for itself, the best course is to facilitate reuniting it with its parent. Often a parent will find the bird if it’s safe from cats and dogs. 

Only if you are absolutely sure there is no parent should you try to rescue it. Noreen Geyer of the Tucson Mountain Hummingbird Rescue (no longer operating) says that to make absolutely sure there is no parent, you should find the nest and watch it for 90 minutes. Often an adult will come.

Tucson Audubon Library

The Tucson Audubon Society Library is located with the nature shop at
300 E. University Blvd, #120, Tucson, AZ 85705
(southeast corner of University Blvd and 5th Avenue) Google Map

Looking for a bird-related book?
  1. Search for it using our online portal, then check out in person
  2. Stop by our library to peruse our selection of over 1200 titles and check out in person
Library Borrowing Policies
  • The library is available to all Friends of Tucson Audubon in good standing
  • Materials may be borrowed for a period of 3 weeks. If no one is waiting for the material, an additional renewal period of 1 week may be requested.
  • Five (5) books can be borrowed by one member at any one time.
  • Reference books may not be borrowed; use is restricted to the library.
  • Books may be reserved. If the book is available, it will be pulled and held for 1 week.
  • Current students may use the library, but are not allowed to borrow materials.
  • If a book or other materials are lost or damaged, a serviceable replacement copy or reimbursement to purchase another copy would be very much appreciated. Use of the library is a membership privilege and every member’s cooperation helps keep the library available to all.
  • Book donations and other library materials are gladly accepted, as long as they are in the subject areas collected by the library. These subject areas broadly include birds and birding, natural history relating to the U.S. and the Southwest U.S., international birding or natural history, childrens books, DVDs, CDs in the same topic areas as above. Please be aware that books or other library items donated may, or may not, end up in the library collection depending on the needs of the collection. Books that do not become part of the collection will be sold in either the Tucson Audubon Nature Shop Used Book Shelf or on to help maintain the library.
Due to staffing and space requirements, we will not maintain brochure collections from national and/or state parks, or other agencies. We will also not maintain journal, newsletter, magazine or serial collections (other than Tucson Audubon’s Vermilion Flycatcher) for the same reasons. We will, however, catalog particular journal issues of special subject interest.