Tiny, Adorable, and Threatened
Video below. Watch carefully for the tiny little warbler being flight tested in a tent. The soft-sides of the tent prevent feather damage while allowing us to see if the bird is ready for release. And he was!
What is blue-grey, yellow, white and orange—-bigger than a hummingbird and smaller than a chickadee? You are right! A male Northern Parula Warbler! A bird
listed as Threatened in the state of Massachusetts.
One of these dainty, adorable birds was found listless in a yard in Wellfleet in early May. The rescuer with her children drove it to Wild Care. It appeared to
have head trauma, as though it had struck a window or had gotten blown into something. The bird was so highly stressed we kept it in a small, dark covered
container so it would not injure itself. He was getting better by the minute. It looked like a quick recovery and potentially a same-day release, perfect scenario. Except for one glitch – as licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators we must report all listed species to Mass Fish and Wildlife and wait to be told how to
proceed. We informed F&W via telephone and email. It was a Friday, which really made me nervous. The situation was a little hairy for us- if we released the bird without permission we could get in trouble. If we kept the bird and it was so stressed that it died, that would be much worse.
So I went a step further and spoke with a State employee in the same department. She understood our dilemma and suggested taking videos and pictures of the situation to document our decision of release. Fine with me!
We placed the bird in a large aviary tent with hiding spaces and branches, to confirm that the bird was fully recovered. It flew very well and we recorded it! Our volunteer, Lynn Cobb-Martin was going home to Wellfleet that afternoon and released him right back in the neighborhood where he was found. Likely this little guy was passing by the Cape on his migration up to Canada.
As of 2008, Cape Cod was the only place in Massachusetts where the Northern Parulas still bred. That was documented in Osterville. Perhaps they have taken a liking to Wellfleet and will breed there this year. We hope so!
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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!