Wild Care is Good, But Real Parents Are Best. Trust me.
By Jennifer Taylor, Animal Care Coordinator
An unexpected adventure of trust started when a couple of friends visited a park in Arlington. They watched Eastern Kingbirds contentedly feeding their fledgling babies when suddenly other birds (we suspect Blue Jays) began making a big raucous around them.
A young Kingbird was now alone on the ground with blood on its breast.
Thankfully these friends already had plans to drive to the Cape that day for the weekend. They carefully collected the bird and brought it directly to Wild Care.
Leah listened to their story, brought the bird inside and examined it.
Much to everyone’s relief the “bloodstain” was actually only berry juice! Kingbirds like berries. While our rescuers were relieved they also felt badly about their mistake and taking the fledgling away from its home.
Leah explained that the best thing for the bird would be to place it back with its family ASAP. Wild Care is a good option for a true orphan but there is no comparison to what the real parents will provide! It sounded like a simple solution. The rescuers were going back to Arlington in two days. This was easy for a Wild Care staff member to suggest, but not so easy to convince Laura, one of the rescuers that it was the best solution.
All of the “what-ifs” came up.
- What if the parents aren’t there anymore?
- What if the parents don’t accept it because it has been away?
- What if the bird gets out of the box or hurts itself on the drive?
After pleading my case several times it was agreed the fledgling would be brought back.
We had no other Kingbirds it could be with. This is so important! And, we knew the parents & siblings were alive, well and could be located.
When I told our good samaritans the bird needed to be kept dark and quiet for the trip Laura mentioned she would be driving with her dogs. I suddenly thought of the dozens of animals we receive each year due to dog attacks and I was having some real reservations! I was assured they are good dogs and they would be fine. Laura was trusting me, so I trusted her.
As the little bird’s travel box was placed into the car I crossed my fingers and hoped that my decision was the right one. I just knew the parents would be there and would accept their baby. Kingbirds make a huge investment in their broods, feeding them every few minutes from dawn to dusk! I believe their bond is as deep as ours with our children.
Several hours later back to Arlington, Laura called me on the phone. It was a complete success! They watched the parent greet the baby, feed it and lead it deep up into a tree. She was so excited! It was glorious, perfect and everybody was relieved!
By the way, I was told by our intern, Sophia, that the Kingbird was the most polite of all the babies in the incubator during its brief stay. What a wonderful little bird with a berry stain!
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Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!