The Problem with Calling Uber for an Injured Animal

By Ali Berman, Communications Manager

Recently, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah made headlines for sharing the out-of-the-box thinking of a man who sent them an injured Lesser Goldfinch via an Uber.

Tim Crowley found the bird and, being a caring person, wanted to help. In a case of bad timing, Crowley had been drinking so couldn’t safely deliver the bird to the rehab center himself. Instead, he called an Uber and the driver agreed to chauffeur the bird to the facility to receive treatment. It’s a great story that shows creative thinking, helped to save the life of a bird, and kept our roads safe for people and wildlife alike by not driving under the influence.

Due to the viral nature of the story, our Wildlife Care Center just received our first “bird by Uber” and we wanted to take a moment to highlight why this tactic is problematic when it’s done regularly rather than as a last resort.

  1. When a bird comes to us via Uber/Taxi/Lyft, we have no way of taking down information about the bird’s history. Was it found in the mouth of a cat? Did it hit a window? Did it fall from a nest? The answers to all of those questions drastically change medical care for that bird. 
  2. Many times birds come to us that shouldn’t have ever been taken from the wild. We need to know where the bird came from so we can get it right back out to its original territory and either release it or (in the case of a baby) reunite it with its parents.
  3. If the bird does need our help, after we treat it we need to release it back to where it came from.  If we don’t know that information, then we can’t put the animal back where it belongs.
  4. In the rare instance that an animal has an illness that could affect people or other animals, we need to be able to follow up, so having accurate contact information is vital.
This baby American Robin was sent to our Wildlife Care Center in an Uber vehicle.

If, like Tim Crowley, an Uber is a necessary last resort, we ask that the person calls our Wildlife Care Center first so we can learn the history of the animal and ensure it needs our help. We are open 365 days a year from 9 – 5 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 503-292-0304. Our wildlife experts are always here to help.