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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we get an answering machine when we call?
We understand that when you have an animal need you would like to speak to a live person.  Everyone at CWR is a volunteer and we have no staff, but messages are checked constantly throughout the day.  If you have left a message and don't receive a call back in two hours please call again. You may also email
waterfowlrescue@aol.com or text our pager at 704-668-9486. All calls are returned but if you have a  non emergency situation please allow us a couple of days to get back to you. return to top

Why do I have such a hard time finding help?
Charlotte is one of the few large cities in the state that does not have a funded wildlife rehabilitation center. This means that licensed rehabilitators are forced to work out of their homes. This limits the amount of animals we can care for and also places a large burden on the few rehabilitators able to take animals. Many rehabbers are overloaded early on and have to stop taking animals. There is also a high turnover due to the stress and financial burdens placed on rehabbers. The constant destruction of habitat in the state is forcing more and more of our wildlife into urban areas placing even more demand on rehabilitators. If you have had a hard time finding help please place a call to one of your local government offices asking them to support a rehabilitation facility in your city.

What do I do while I wait for a call back?
Please do not feed or water any animals until you have been instructed to do so by a rehabilitator. Birds are very easily aspirated and many  birds do not drink water. Feeding an emaciated animal can cause instant death. Please keep the animal in a warm, quiet, dark place while you await transporting instructions. We will find someone to help you so please do not panic. You have gone to this much trouble so please be patient so your bird can have the best chance at life. You can also text us at 704-668-9486 or email us at hotline@cwrescue.org

Why cant I just care for the bird myself?
Caring for any wildlife in the state of North Carolina requires a permit, and for good reason. Rehabilitators spend years training to provide specialized care to wildlife. Many animals we receive from the public are animals that die from being fed and/or cared for improperly. Please give your animal the best chance at life by taking it to a qualified, trained and licensed rehabilitator. Information found on the internet is often WRONG! Do not trust this when making a decision about the care of your animal. Federal law allows 24 hours for you to get a bird to a rehabilitator, after that its illegal to posses or provide any care.

What kind of birds can you accept?
We specialize in waterfowl but will also accept other precocial and/or self feeding birds. We will also accept most types of domestic birds like cockatiels and parakeets if we have space. We will make an effort to help any bird that we possibly can but we are limited to what resources we have at the time. Email as at rehab@cwrescue.org if you have a question about a particular bird and we will do our best to help or refer you to someone else. Email is the best form of contact with questions. We are licensed for all migratory birds.

If you are outside of the Charlotte NC area and need help click here for a list of rehabilitators in your area.

What can I do to help animals in need?
The most urgent need is for donations as we receive no state, federal or city funding. We also need volunteers to assist us with capturing , caring for and transporting animals. 

I found a duck or goose all alone, how can i help him?
If you found a small duckling or gosling that still has down and cant locate the mother please call us ASAP so we can assist you.  Please note it is against state and federal law for you to keep a bird and try and raise it yourself.

 If you have found an adult goose somewhere by itself it may *seem* alone. Normally there is a mate hidden nearby on a nest. Males defend their nest vigorously while the mate incubates eggs. In order to avoid attracting predators the father sits away from the nest but close enough he can hear the emergency call of the female.  He is literally a dad outside the waiting room, with about 28 days to wait for his children to be born.  So its common for them to be sitting in parking lots, on medians and a variety of seemingly unusual places.  We ask that you approach the goose slowly before calling us, if he stands up using both legs and doesn't have a wing dragging he is fine.  if they have no obvious injury we will not move them.  We try hard to keep families together. 

Occasionally you will find a lone goose near the road, sometimes this can mean his mate has been hit or killed.  If they are grieving for the loss of a loved one they often isolate themselves. Forcing them to be around other geese isn't helpful for them. Just like us we need to work through trauma or grief in our own individual ways. You often see humans returning to the side of the road where a loved one lost their lives and geese do the same thing.  There are reasons why they do this, we may not understand them but we must accept them. If the dead body is still there we do advise you to remove the carcass as this usually speeds up them leaving the area.

There is a duck or goose nesting in a dangerous place?
Ducks and geese have adapted to our city life quite well.  In order to find a safe nesting place away from people they generally go where people wont.  This means you will find them on awnings, roofs, freeway medians, and parking lots.  There is a large volume of these nests around Charlotte and in most cases we can not move the nests.  The birds are protected by federal laws and Fish and Wildlife doesn't allow relocation. In some severe cases where there is a danger to humans or immediate danger to the birds we will consider relocating them. Placing a trap around them is illegal and will often result in a predator corning the mother inside the trap and killing her.  In these situations please email the details of your situation to
waterfowlrescue@aol.com we will do our best to help

I found an egg or an unattended nest?
Nest removal can be carried out, at any time, as long as no eggs are present. Repeatedly removing nesting materials usually will force breeding waterfowl to relocate, build a new nest or nest later in the season. Nest construction may last for several weeks and the first egg may be laid less than 24 hours after the nest is constructed. Once the first egg is laid in a nest, no further action can be taken without an egg/nest destruction permit issued by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. If you have a problem with nesting waterfowl please call us.

 I have a Nuisance Duck/Goose problem, what do I do?
First determine whether you have domestic or wild waterfowl. We will remove domestic ducks from your property for a fee, call us to discuss your situation.  Domestic ducks are placed into our adoption program where they receive health screenings and are placed in new appropriate homes.  We are a no-kill facility and will not assist anyone with depredation plans.

 If you have a migratory bird problem please read the instructions on the Coalition for Canada Geese website. www.canadageese.org We are not staffed to deal with large nuisance issues but we will do what we can to help you resolve your situation humanely.  We are not here to provide free services to people who don't want to make an effort to help themselves. Special permits may be required for relocation and or removal of protected birds.

There is a dead goose or duck on or near my property and i want you to test it for disease?
There is no agency in our area that provides free disease testing for dead birds.  We do not have the resources to provide necropsy and lab work for free.  We can pick up dead birds but you must make a donation to cover the costs associated with having it tested.  Currently we charge a $100 carcass removal and testing fee. 

You may also call and discuss your disease concerns with the health department. You can also take the carcass to the  Animal Disease Lab yourself, their phone is 704-289-6448.

If they have been bitten by an animal or have concerns for your  health please contact the  County Health Department where the incident occurred. Some Bites must also be reported to animal control. 

I have a duck/goose nesting on my property, what can I do?
Nest removal can be carried out, at any time, as long as no eggs are present. Repeatedly removing nesting materials usually will force breeding waterfowl to relocate, build a new nest or nest later in the season. Nest construction may last for several weeks and the first egg may be laid less than 24 hours after the nest is constructed. Once the first egg is laid in a nest, no further action can be taken without an egg/nest destruction permit issued by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. If you have a problem with nesting waterfowl please call us.

I have witnessed someone killing and/or hurting protected birds, what can I do?
Call the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's toll free hotline number 1 800 662 7137 to report any instances of wildlife violations. You can also try calling the local sheriff's department or animal control. Get pictures if possible, many times people will stop if they know they are being watched and that someone cares about the birds.

I need help with my pet duck or goose, what can I do?
 Ducks must be surrendered to us for us to provide any care. We cant treat peoples pets legally and you must seek a veterinarian if you would like to retain ownership of your pet.  If your in Charlotte contact Carolina Vet Specialists at 704-949-1100 and ask to see Dr. Lauren Powers. She in an excellent Avian Vet and is experienced with waterfowl. If your willing to drive to Durham we use Dr Greg Burkett he takes care of many of our birds. Go to the
www.thebirdvet.com/ for contact details.

If you are not in the Charlotte area and need help please visit Duck Rescue Network http://www.duckrescuenetwork.org

If you have questions not listed please email us rehab@cwrescue.org

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©  Carolina Waterfowl Rescue
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue (CWR) is non profit 501 (c)3  wildlife rescue organization located in Charlotte, NC. CWR is run by federally-licensed migratory bird rehabilitators specializing in waterfowl. We take in over 1000 birds a year covering close to 40 different wild bird species.  CWR is an all-volunteer group that donates their time, money and expertise to helping North Carolina’s birds in need. They also accept domestic or exotic ducks for placement, do nuisance referrals, and offer bird, duck and goose rescue assistance.
 
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue ~ PO Box 1484 ~ Indian Trail, NC 28079
(704) 668-9486