Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wild Bird Rehabilitation

Something I've been doing for a while now but haven't posted about is volunteering at Wild Bird Rehabilitation, which is about fifteen minutes from my house and takes care of sick and injured birds. I clean cages, give the birds food and water, take care of the birds in the outdoor aviary, where they go when they are almost ready to be released, and, in the spring and summer, hand-feed the baby birds that get brought in.

 This is a young cedar waxwing that was in the E.R., where all birds go for a checkup when they are first admitted. Later, they'll move either to the recovery room, if they are adults, or the nursery if they are juveniles. In the winter there might be fifteen birds in the whole facility, whereas during nesting season there can be well over fifty, since we get many, many babies who were abandoned or fell out of their nests.

 This is a maturing Mockingbird. We get all kinds of interesting birds: mourning doves, pigeons, robins and house sparrows are the most common, but we've also had common yellowthroats, black and white warblers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and even an American Woodcock while I've been volunteering.

 For the most part we deal with passerines, perching birds, and raptors and waterfowl each go to separate rehabilitation centers in the St. Louis area. One thing I love about working here is seeing birds up close that I would normally see only through my binoculars; and I'm often surprised by how large or small a bird seems compared to what it looks like in the wild. I also love hand feeding birds, of course, and one of the most exciting things I've done there is hold a juvenile Chickadee while feeding it mealworms. It's a great place, doing great work, and I enjoy and appreciate the experiences I have volunteering there.