Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What’s that Bird?

“My granddaughter came over to visit and she has found a baby bird in the backyard,” says the caller on the other line. Then she says “I think it’s a baby hawk.” Sure, well, the first questions we ask are the same regardless of the type of bird: Are there obvious injuries; does it have feathers or is it still fuzzy; do you know where the nest is; have you seen the parents; how long has it been there… This bird wasn’t too far from us so we recommended bringing it to us so we could evaluate it, especially if it was a young raptor that may need to be re-nested by a trained volunteer.

The granddaughter was a bit older than we had envisioned and she was able to pick the bird up in a shirt; bringing him into the Center in a canvas shopping bag. The most surprising thing about this story however, is that it actually was a juvenile Cooper’s hawk!

Yes, that is what she said it was, but it’s a common occurrence to receive calls about “baby hawks” that turn into infant Mourning Doves when they arrive at the Center. We also get a lot of American Robins - while it’s true we do actually admit numerous robins, many other small birds ranging from European Starlings to Song Sparrows to House Finches come in claiming to be a member of the proud red-breasts as well. We never make people feel bad for not knowing the difference; the truth is there are always patients coming in that even we don’t know at first glance, especially baby birds! By working as a team and with a network; talking to other staff and volunteers, attending conferences, reading journals, posting blogs, and partnering with other rehabilitators however, we find the answers we don’t know and also try our best to share that information. And that’s a good thing because for many of the people we do talk to, there aren’t a lot of other resources for them to get the answers they’re looking for. We love to hear from people that know about and care about our wild neighbors as much as we do, but we love to help people learn about our wild neighbors just as much.

It isn’t something we’re often known for, but we are more than “just an animal charity.” An article in our recent newsletter examined the ways in which we help the people in our communities as well. While we are here for the animals (whatever they may turn out to be) it is the volunteers, members, staff, supporters and community who have always been the heart of the Wildlife In Need Center.

No comments:

Post a Comment