Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saving A Songbird

My husband arrived home from work cradling a shoebox and sheepishly said "Don't kill me." He revealed the contents:  a dainty brown sparrow, a songbird like those that frequently visit our yard. The little guy, actually girl we later discovered, had swooped into his work place and became lodged between some shelving and the window. He was able to move things and free her, but once outside she didn't fly away. He promptly checked the internet for guidance. He placed her in a shoebox expecting that she'd recover from her daze, but she just laid there helplessly. She was alive, but couldn't fly.

As a child I was known to show up toting strays or declaring the arrival of our newest pet. My parents were animal lovers and I never brought home anything too sickly or exotic so we managed. We most often found the grateful owner, settled them into a loving home, or I had a brand-new pet to dote on :)

This was a different story. It was way outside of my experience. What on earth do you do with an injured backyard bird?! Especially now that my tender-hearted son saw it and was in on the rescue mission?! Maybe a veterinarian.....an exotic animal veterinarian? It wasn't exotic. It was a sparrow. Not an eagle, owl, hawk or even some fancy pet bird. No one helps little brown wounded sparrows do they? Guess what? It turns out they do!

This turned out to be a wonderful learning experience for all of us. Because of our sweet little songbird we found out about Wildbird Recovery.

What an amazing place! My son and I took the sparrow to our closest rescue center and were amazed that there were several others in the area too. To find one near you visit: http://wildbird.rescueshelter.com/international We found out that our little sparrow most likely had a head or spine injury which could take a long time, if ever, to recover from. She would be well cared for though :)

Beth, the owner/operator of Wildbird Recovery, was a wealth of information. The love and respect she showed for these delightful little creatures that we take for granted, and can sometimes so easily disregard, was amazing and inspiring. My son had a zillion questions and she patiently answered and educated us. They have education programs available, which I'm h oping my son's cub scout troop will take advantage of. Her rescue is situated on 14 acres north of Pittsburgh. It has a pond, enclosures for her education birds (one of which is a talking crow that we found immensely entertaining), ducks, geese and pigeons roaming around, and a peacock that we didn't get to see (but my son managed to con Beth out of a couple feathers). There is also a gift shop with all donated and, mostly, handcrafted items (where we picked up the little ceramic bird for my son to remember our little bird saving adventure), and a bird "hospital" area. I was amazed to find out that Wildbird Recovery admitted and treated over 400 sick, injured, and orphaned wild birds last year. 
The site has a lot of resources including a quick chart to help you decide what to do if you find an injured bird.

We learned that many bird injuries occur because birds can't see windows and are able to fly through openings that appear to be too small by folding their wings, bodies and legs differently. If you've heard or seen this happen at your home or business there is a simple, inexpensive solution to consider ....bird tape

I found the following video just amazing! It reveals the agility of birds when they want to get to something and how vulnerable they are to serious injury if they can't see glass.

I love watching and listening to the birds in my yard. We have several feeders and birdbaths to encourage their continued presence. I found our little adventure fascinating and hope that if you find yourself in a similar situation you decide to help our little feathered friends :) Like many animal rescues, Wildbird Recovery is a non-profit and depends on donations to continue their work. They accept monetary or supply donations if you are inclined to give. If you'd like to find a bird rescue near your home please visit: http://wildbird.rescueshelter.com/international.

Do you have any favorite bird visitors to your yard? I'd love to hear your bird story. Just leave a comment below.

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  1. What a lovely story Terri. There is a bird sanctuary a few miles from my home and they also do the most fantastic work. They were trying to re-home a peacock the other day (Mr B said "no." Humph! P.S. LOVE the new look!

    1. Thanks Kerry :) Sorry you couldn't get the peacock. That would make for some interesting tales I'd bet. Not many people get to have a peacock running around.