Q.How can I learn more about living with our local wildlife?

A.The SPCA Wildlife Center provides information to help. If the articles below don’t answer your question, please call us at 831-264-5427.

  1. Eight Good Reasons Why You Should Not Feed Wildlife
  2. What to do if You Find a Wild Animal iconPDF
  3. Living with Raccoons iconPDF
  4. Living With Deer iconPDF
  5. Living with Opossums iconPDF
  6. Living with Bats  iconPDF
  7. Do Our Pets Hurt Wildlife? iconPDF
  8. Setting Limits for the Safety of your Cat and Wildlife iconPDF
  9. What to do with an Injured or Orphaned Bird iconPDF
  10. Living with urban wildlife iconPDF

Q. What Should I Do If I Find a Baby Bird?

Follow this easy to use flow chart

A. If you find an uninjured baby bird on the ground and can see its nest, try placing him back. It is a myth that birds will reject their young if you touch them. Birds have a very limited sense of smell. Watch the baby from a distance to see if his parents come back to feed him. On average, baby birds need to be fed every half hour, so call The SPCA Wildlife Center if you do not see the parents return. Bird have very specialized diets, so do not attempt to feed the baby yourself.

If the bird has some downy feathers and is hopping on the ground but not flying, it is most likely a fledgling.

If the bird appears injured, please call the Wildlife Center at 831-264-5427 during regular business hours. For after-hours emergencies, call 831-646-5534. Learn more about baby birds here! iconPDF

Back to Top

Q. What Should I do if I Find a Baby Deer (fawn)?

Does, or mother deer, will leave their babies hidden and alone in a safe space during most of the day to feed. These babies are not abandoned; the mother is likely out of sight watching you. If you find a fawn lying quietly in the grass – leave it where it is, stay back and out of sight, and keep dogs as far away as possible. The mother will not return if she senses people or dogs are too close. If a fawn has been picked up or handled, gently place it back in the exact place where it was found, or within sight of that spot. Stand back several hundred feet, and wait for the mother’s return (which could take hours).

If you are worried that the fawn might be in distress, look for the following signs: labored breathing, walking and vocalizing for over an hour, blood, clearly broken bones, laying prone on its die (rather than curled or on its stomach), or a deceased mother on site. If you see these signs, call our Wildlife Center at 831-264-5427 or, if it is after hours, call the 24-hour hotline at 831-646-5534. Once contacted, our technicians will evaluate the situation and give you instructions on how to proceed.

Do not attempt to rescue the fawn without the guidance of our technicians. Fawns are extremely sensitive to stress. The terror of being handled by humans and receiving any incorrect care severely decreases a fawn’s chances for survival and release.

Back to Top

Q. What is a Fledgling?

A. Each spring The SPCA for Monterey County Wildlife Center is called upon to rescue and rehabilitate hundreds of orphaned birds. With the help of many dedicated volunteers, The SPCA Wildlife Center is very successful in raising these orphans and releasing them back into the wild. Unfortunately, each spring The SPCA also receives many “rescued” fledglings – young birds with their first feathers that are often seen on the ground unable to fly. The fledging stage is a normal part of development for many birds. Although the fledgling may sometimes appear to be an injured bird, downier feathers and parents tending to it signify that it is a healthy fledgling.

Fledglings are baby birds that are found on the ground, are already feathered, and are able to hop, but are not yet ready to fly. These young birds are sometimes mistaken for a bird with a broken wing. Fledglings can be as large as the parents and usually have some visible downier feathers.

If you see a bird that you think might be injured, take time to observe him. If it is a fledgling, you will soon see his parents tending to him. This is a very important time for the young birds to learn by observing their parents and it won’t be long until he is able to fly.

Found a fledgeling? Follow this easy to use flow chart to learn what to do!

Please contact The SPCA Wildlife Center before attempting to rescue any young bird not in immediate danger. We can be reached at 831-264-5427 during regular business hours. For after-hours emergencies, call 831-646-5534. Learn more about baby birds here! iconPDF

Back to Top

Q. What Should I Do if I Find an Injured or Orphaned Wild Animal?

A.Call us at 831-264-5427 or learn more here: What to do if You Find a Wild Animal iconPDF

Back to Top

Q. Is it OK to Feed Wildlife?

A.The SPCA does not recommend feeding wild animals. Learn why: Eight Good Reasons Why You Should Not Feed Wildlife

Back to Top

Q. I Have Nuisance Wildlife on My Property, Can You Help?

A. Yes, please call us for assistance at 831-264-5427. We are here to help.

Back to Top

Q. What do I need to know about driving during deer mating season? What should I do if I see a deer hit by a car?

A. The SPCA for Monterey County advises drivers to use extreme caution when driving to avoid hitting deer on area roadways during the Fall. September, October and November is deer mating season on the central coast and deer are much more likely to be on the move near and across roadways. Specifically The SPCA advises:

  • Be particularly careful at dawn and dusk when driving, especially where visibility is limited. Use of high beams when appropriate can provide a greater area of visibility.
  • Slow down and use extreme caution when approaching a deer standing near the side of a road. Be prepared for the deer to enter the roadway in front of the vehicle. If necessary, honk your horn and flash your lights to try to scare the deer off of the roadway.
  • Be alert for more deer than you may see at that moment. Where there’s one deer, there are often more nearby.
  • Use extra caution in areas where deer crossing signs are posted. These are areas where deer are known to cross roadways.
  • Be particularly cautious in wooded and agricultural areas.
  • Call The SPCA immediately if you see any injured or orphaned wildlife.

Locally, areas of greatest deer activity at night are Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley Road, the Highway 68 corridor, Holman Highway, River Road, and Highway 1 from Seaside to south of Carmel. This time of year The SPCA responds to an average of 20 to 30 hit-by-car deer calls a month in these areas, with almost all the deer involved either dead on arrival or needing to be humanely euthanized immediately. The average insurance claim for deer/vehicle collisions in the United States is $2,000 per incident.

If you see an injured deer on the side of the road, please call us at 831-373-2631. If you see a deceased deer or any other deceased animal on the side of the road, please call Monterey County Public Works at 831-755-4800. 


Q. Who should I call about a dead animal on the side of the road?

A. Please call Monterey County Public Works at 831-755-4800.


Q. What should I do if I suspect a wild animal is rabid?

A. If the wild animal is living and has had exposure to pets or humans (i.e. bitten or exchanged bodily fluids), please contact Monterey County Animal Services (MCAS) – 831-769-8850.  MCAS, as the County department responsible for rabies control, will respond, euthanize the wild animal if it is located, then remove the carcass for rabies testing.

If the wild animal is living and there has been no exposure to pets or humans, please call the SPCA’s Wildlife Department.  Many animals people call about happen to be out in the daytime but are exhibiting normal behaviors.  We counsel the caller on what is normal vs. abnormal behavior.  If behaviors described to us seem suspicious (the animal is walking in circles, unable to stand or walk, moving slowly and seems unsteady, or does not respond to the presence of humans) we will send a technician to your home to assess the situation.  This usually results in our technician humanely euthanizing the wild animal and removing the carcass.

If the wild animal is dead and you are concerned about rabies and possible exposure to your pets, please contact Monterey County Animal Services (MCAS) which is responsible for rabies control.  The phone number for MCAS is 831-769-8850.

Please note that the SPCA for Monterey County and Monterey County Animal Services are not affiliated with each other.  The SPCA is a private organization which happens to have a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, funded entirely by donations. Monterey County Animal Services is a Government Agency.

Back to Top

Help Wildlife


Wildlife Questions during Regular Hours

Wildlife Emergencies during Regular Hours

Wildlife Emergencies After Hours (SPCA Wildlife Staff on-call 24 hours a day)

Mountain Lions: (California Department of Fish & Wildlife)

Injured or Orphaned Marine Mammals (Marine Mammal Center)

Live or Deceased Sea Otters (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Deceased Animals on Side of Road (Monterey County Public Works)