Four baby chickens, just a few weeks old, were found in an aquarium in a park in Independence in mid-March. Animal control was called, and they brought them to us for care. It was raining that day, and the aquarium was starting to fill with water. The chicks were shivering and covered with filthy watery feces and food. We aren't as surprised by cases like these in the weeks after Easter, when some people buy ducklings, chicks, or baby bunnies for their kids for the holiday, then turned them loose when they become too much work. It is hard to fathom why someone would have bought young chickens in February, then grown tired of them within a few weeks. And what kind of person leaves baby animals in the rain in a water tight container that would fill up and drown them? We are thankful that good people found them and did the right thing by calling for help.
We named her Gaga, because she was fabulous and beautiful. This little Cockatoo was left behind in an empty house in Belton in a cage so filthy it wasn't worth salvaging. The water bowl was empty, and she wouldn't have lasted more than 2 or 3 more days. While we understand that job loss, eviction, or some other crisis can be financially devastating, that is no excuse to not at least make some phone calls to find a home for a pet that can't be kept. We work with numerous animal control agencies, shelters, and rescues around the Midwest to assist birds in need, and we will never turn away a bird that is in danger.
Carlos and Kevin were attacked by a dog 48 hours before they came to our rescue. At only 8 weeks old, probably purchased for Easter, they were going to cost their family too much money to get the veterinary care they so desperately needed. Maggots of 2 different sizes were crawling in their wounds, and they both needed multiple antibiotics, Ivermectin to kill any maggots that didn't get picked out during surgery, wound sprays and creams, and hospitalization for a week. They were finally sent home with a duck owner who continued caring for their wounds, then let them live with other ducks their age in a place that was safe from predators.
"PIGEON PALACE POPULATION"
We are now up to three large pigeon pens as the number of birds coming in continues to grow, but the number being adopted doesn't keep up. Several of the birds this year were white, and were most likely released for the 40th anniversary of the Hyatt Regency disaster. 140 birds were turned loose to represent the 140 people who died when the balconies collapsed onto a crowded dance floor. It is likely that many of these 140 white pigeons also died, as they are not usually homing pigeons that can find their way back to where they came from. We took in one that had a broken leg after being hit by a car, and her companion would not leave her side. Another was part of a group of four, but after one died and the second one was hurt, the other two flew away. Multiple other reports of white pigeons all over the city came in, but most could not be captured.
"LOST AND FOUND"
Same situation every year, so I will repeat what I wrote last year: It is a sad fact that the vast majority of small pet birds that are loose outside are never reclaimed by their owners. We suspect that this is because the people no longer wanted them, and rather than take the time to look for a rescue or shelter that will find them a good home, they just cruelly turn them loose, where almost all of them will die. Every year we take in around a dozen birds that were found outside, but some of them die despite our best efforts because they were attacked by a predator or ate something toxic.
This year we did manage to reunite a macaw with his owner, but we were surprised when nobody claimed this male Eclectus. Did he bite someone, scream too much, or make a mess, so they wanted him gone? Did his owner die and a family member didn't know what else to do with him? Did he accidentally escape, and his family thought there was no point looking for him because they thought they couldn't get him back? Who knows!
"THE CASE OF THE LONELY PEACOCK"
Han Solo was the sole survivor of his flock of peafowl and other outside birds after his owner was hospitalized. We suspect his flockmates were killed by predators because they weren't being locked up in their shed at night. He had injuries that required treatment, but made a full recovery and went to live with others of his species in a safe, enclosed place.
KC the Whooper Swan was wandering loose in mobile home park after her mate was killed by car. After animal control contacted us, we determined that a sanctuary with other swans of her species would be the best place for her, so we sent her to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. We drove her 4 hours across the state to meet another driver in St. Louis, who would help her with the next leg of her journey. Some birds don't stay in our care for long, but we try to do our part to insure that they have the best possible life in the future.
"THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE QUAIL"
This gentle little Quail, who we named Majorette, was found in suburban back yard in Independence in November. Unable to fly, we cannot fathom how a Japanese quail that couldn't fly ended up in suburbia. This is the first quail in Burge Bird Rescue's history unless I have somehow forgotten one from the past 15 years. Did she escape from a breeder who was going to use her to shoot at and train his hunting dogs? Who knows. She has gone home with a client who was charmed by her sweet face.
We will not turn away birds that have nowhere else to go, although sometimes if we are very full, we might ask people to check with other local rescues to see if they have more space. Once every year or two we get some surprises at our front door. Our cameras pick up people pulling into our parking lot, quickly dropping off a cage, and leaving immediately, or sometimes they even park at the apartment complex next door and sneak over in the dark of night. We worry that some of these birds will be killed by raccoons or stray cats before we find them, and wish people would just call and let us know that they are coming over. This year we had one cockatiel and a cage of 5 Zebra Finches left outside with no note or phone call or knock on the door.
CLICK THESE LINKS TO SEE MORE GREAT RESCUE STORIES FROM OTHER YEARS:
While we try to keep veterinary care affordable at our avian veterinary hospital, sometimes a bird has problems that are just too numerous and complex for most people to handle. Nikki the African Grey Parrot, who is at least 35 years old, had recurring infections that didn't seem to respond to the antibiotics that were supposed to work, was mostly blind, had long term sinus issues, and kept regurgitating. She wouldn't climb in her cage very often, and spent a lot of time on the cage floor. We have placed her with one of our long time clients who likes to take in the special needs birds with issues that need frequent care. The costs will be covered by the rescue for anything related to her pre-existing conditions.