I was outside relaxing in the spa just the other day when suddenly I saw what looked like a tiny baby bird. I got out of the water and looked closer. Sure enough, it was the tiniest baby bird I had ever seen. I thought there was no life left in him, but when I got very, very close I could see that he was still breathing the tiniest breaths you could imagine. I didn’t know what to do. This happened twice before when I lived in Michigan, and both times I tried to rehabilitate the birds myself without any luck. So this time I decided I would look up a wildlife rescue center, take the bird there, and leave it to the professionals.
My seven-year-old son and I looked online for places to take a wild bird in San Diego. We immediately found San Diego’s Project Wildlife and looked up the hours and directions. I called the hotline, and it gave me precise directions and information about what to do. I had read before that you should leave the bird where he is and just watch for a few hours to see if the parents come back for him, and the phone hotline gave the same instructions. So, that’s what we did. We watched and watched and watched, and the parents never came. I saw the nest on top of an outdoor speaker above the doorway, so I got on a ladder and looked to figure out how I would put him back in the nest if I could. The nest was closed off in every direction, so I thought the parents had abandoned the nest completely and decided there was no way I could get him back safely.
I picked the baby bird up with a Kleenex and put him just outside of our fence because we had to run an errand, and I didn’t want the dogs bothering him. I left him for another two hours just 5 feet from where he had fallen, but when I came back he was still there, barely breathing, with no parents around. So, my son and I decided we had to help him. I put the baby bird in a little Kleenex box and we drove him 35 minutes down to the Wildlife Triage Center, located at 887 1/2 Sherman Street, San Diego, CA 92110. We found it easily and the baby bird survived the car ride. The center has a screened-in porch where you are able to leave wild animals overnight. They have little cages set up with heating pads so the birds will stay warm until the volunteers get there in the morning.
The center was only supposed to be open until 5:00pm, but it was almost 7:30pm when we arrived. I started to put the bird on a heating pad when a man opened the door and said, “We’re still here! Bring him on over!” I was so happy that they were still there so they could take him right then because I was really scared to take care of him all night myself. He would have had a very low chance of survival, but I also thought that being there all night in the cold would’ve been terrible for him too. (I didn’t know about the heating pads, so he may have survived!) He’s in good professional care now, so I know we made the best decision. The volunteer at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center was so friendly and helpful and really made us feel a lot better about the baby bird surviving! My seven-year-old son told the volunteer how much he loves animals, and the volunteer told him that maybe my son could work there one day. I gave a donation to help with the bird’s food and warmth, and they started his care right away! We filled out paperwork also and a request to follow-up, so we will let you know when we know more about our fallen baby bird. If you find a wild animal, please leave it alone, and if its parents have not come back for it after many hours, take the animal to San Diego’s Project Wildlife Triage Center, located at 887 1/2 Sherman Street, San Diego, CA 92110.
You can also call their hotline at 619-225-9453 to listen to directions, instructions and more information or check out their great website! Has this happened to you? What has your experience been like with wildlife rehabilitation? I would love to hear your story!