Operation Sparrow Rescue - A Baby Bird Rescue
If you've seen my work you probably know part of my photography genre is wildlife. I'm very passionate about wildlife in fact. It's one of my favorite things to shoot (with a camera!). You may even remember my Hummingbird rescue here. Well, I'm at it again and I wanted to share this visual journey of a baby House Sparrow I rescued the other day - documented on my iphone. There is a huge King Palm tree in my neighborhood where every year dozens of Sparrows nest. I always pass by it while walking my dogs. The dogs love going by the tree because they often find dead Sparrow chicks on the ground next to it. During Spring there's always a handful of chicks that don't make it. Although I don't let my dogs have the snack they want they always sniff them out.
While on a dog walk a few days ago we passed by the tree and sure enough one of my dogs alerted me to a new smell on the ground. A House Sparrow chick was laying in the dirt. This one was quite larger than the usual dead featherless chicks I find. It had a full set of feathers and was of good size. It still wasn't a fledgling yet though; it was still very young. As I pulled my dogs back I noticed it was moving. It was still alive!
I went into rescue mode - it's involuntary for me! I picked up the chick and it moved around in my palm with a casual wing flutter. It peered at me momentarily with a lazy eye then came to rest, eyes closed, in my hand. I could only imagine the trauma it had gone through this morning starting with a high free fall to laying helplessly on the ground by itself. With my dogs eagerly clawing at my leg for a closer encounter I looked up for the chick's possible nesting site. It would have been impossible to find the nest it came from with all the other identical nests but I was determined to return it to the safety of the tree somewhere.
It was eerily quiet as I scanned the tree. Usually this tree was buzzing with vocal birds. Maybe my presence had scared them off or maybe they watched in silence for my next move as I cared for their kin. Ultimately my goal was to put it safely back in an empty nesting site but the 15-20 feet or so up to the lowest nest would be out of the reach of my ladder.
I placed the chick on a ledge on the trunk of the tree to get it off of the ground then ran the dogs home. They weren't too happy about a shortened walk. I began to scour the neighborhood for taller ladders but came up short. It quickly became apparent that any ladder would be too short anyhow.
I wasn't out of options though. I walked back to the Sparrow chick while phoning a local wildlife rescue center. Luckily for me my home city, Huntington Beach, has the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center. A friendly voice helped me out, telling me they could accept the Sparrow. I scooped it back up and with bird in hand we went for a drive.
After a short drive I arrived at the center near PCH and Newland. I was second in line behind the Orange County Animal Control Deputies who had dropped off an injured animal moments before. I was greeted with a smile as the staff took the chick from my hand. A short section of paperwork to fill out and my job was done.
With my head held high I went home. This bird rescue was complete.
A special thank you to the staff at the center. They are volunteers. They volunteer their time to rehabilitate wildlife. If you are interested in volunteering at the center or donating visit their website for more information.
Address 21900 Pacific Coast Highway Huntington Beach,CA 92646
Phone Number (714) 374-5587