"The Bird In The Plastic Bubble"

Biscuit the Goffin Cockatoo was scheduled to be relinquished to our rescue, but we had no idea what we would be getting.  He arrived with a large bloody open wound on his chest.  Apparently he had been self-mutilating for years and had received no veterinary care.  After running tests and starting him on medications, we began trying a series of collars and vests to stop him from reaching the wound.  Everything we tried was quickly destroyed, since cockatoos are famous for being able to figure their way out of any situation.  We finally had to resort to the avian spherical collar, which we like to call the bubble collar, and so far he has not been able to remove it or reach his wound.  Unfortunately, the thick scab and scar tissue is blocking the body's ability to close the open hole with new skin, and we are planning to do surgery on him to remove much of the dead tissue so he can hopefully heal.
Burge Bird Rescue
13833 S 71 Hwy
Grandview MO 64030

 "No Long Term Care in the Long Term Care Facility"

If you've been to very many nursing homes, you have probably seen one of those big glassed in flight cages full of little birds.  Many residents enjoy watching the birds flit around, even coming up with names for them, and knowing which ones have paired off and are raising chicks.  You may not know that most of these aviaries are supplied by a company that sends someone out every 2 or 3 months to completely clean them out, remove some of the extra birds resulting from the constant breeding, and to leave more food and supplies.  One company that serviced a large number of facilities suddenly halted operations in much of the midwest, abandoning their responsibilities, refusing to respond to phone calls or emails.  We started getting calls from several retirement homes because their aviaries were getting overcrowded, they couldn't get them clean, and they were running out of food.  

We took in dozens of finches and doves from 3 different sources, including these babies that weren't ready to be weaned, but we had no way to know which birds were their parents.  They had to be handfed for days until they started eating on their own.  All of the birds eventually found their way into new homes, where we have asked their new families to not provide any kind of nests.
"Time to Heal"

We can't know how things will turn out when a bird suffers nerve damage.  Even in humans, it is not always possible to predict whether someone will walk again after a spinal injury.  It can take months or even years for healing and therapy to recover some or all of the previous abilities.  Onion the 3 year old cockatiel came in to our veterinary hospital because she had been on the bottom of her cage unable to stand for 2 days.  Nobody knew for sure what might have happened to her when she was out of her cage.  Our exam revealed that she had feeling in her feet and was able to move her legs and toes, but she couldn't support her weight.  She was surrendered to our rescue because there was no way to know if or when she would ever be able to walk and perch again.

It took a month in the hospital, with medications, frequent cleanings, and physical therapy, before she was deemed strong enough to find a new home.
 "Deep Fried Pigeon"

The pigeons just keep coming.  This year's most interesting story involved Edward, the caramel colored pigeon with a leg band indicating he was born in 2020.  We don't know what exactly Edward got into, but it was so gooey and thick and smelly that it seemed to be some kind of used grease, or maybe glue.  It took 4 days of bathing in Dawn dish soap to get 90% of it out of his feathers.  While he is wearing a band from a breeder, we have found that most pigeon fanciers don't want their birds back if they aren't strong enough and smart enough to stay out of trouble and win races.  Other pigeon rescues have found the same response, so we no longer attempt to trace the bands and return the birds.

 "Our Tiniest Rescue Ever"

We got a call about a pair of budgies (parakeets) that had laid eggs for the first time after the owner gave them a nest box.  When their first egg hatched, the inexperienced parents didn't know what to do, and threw their new baby out of the nest.  The owner put the baby back in the box repeatedly, but the chick was never fed, and was thrown to the ground every time.  In desperation, they called us, and we had them bring the chick to us for care.  Handfeeding any baby bird from the time it hatches is challenging, especially one this size.  The tiny thing weighed just 2 grams, about the same as a dime.

Sadly, we weren't able to keep him alive despite providing the right temperature and formula, with feedings every 2 hours.  Not all rescues turn out to have a happy ending, but at least we did the best we could and gave this baby a chance at life.
 "Pecking Order"

Nobody regulates how chickens have to be kept.  Some feed stores and hatcheries will sell hens to anyone who shows up with money, whether that buyer knows how to care for them or not.  Tiny coops are sold with no recommendations as to how many birds can occupy them, or how to provide adequate shelter, nutrition, and living conditions.  When we saw that these 4 hens were kept in a 3 by 5 foot cage, with 6 inches of droppings as their floor, we were able to convince the owner to surrender them.  One of the hens with the best feather condition was bullying the others, picking off a lot of their feathers, leaving bare patches of skin that would have made it difficult to stay warm in the approaching winter.

During their intake exams, we found that 3 of the 4 had bumblefoot, sores on the bottoms of their feet indicating infection.  Living on their deep layer of accumulated feces, that was almost as hard as concrete, had lead to wounds on their tender feet, allowing bacteria to get inside.  One bird required surgery and bandaging for weeks before her symptoms resolved.  They are now living in a huge pen on 5 acres, with room to move away from each other when they want to be left alone, and a big shed with heat and air conditioning for year around comfort.
"Ducks in the 'Hood" 

A lot of ducks are abandoned every year when people realize that those cute little baby ducklings grow up to be very messy!  The interesting thing about this duck rescue story is that they were found in a south Kansas City neighborhood with no pond or creek or park anywhere nearby.  How did they end up there?  Why would someone have 6 ducks and just turn them loose in a neighborhood?  How did they survive without any obvious source of water or shelter?  A resident had seen them for a couple of weeks, and finally decided that someone needed to help them before they were hit by cars or attacked by loose dogs.

When we first went out to look for the 6 Muscovy ducks of various colors, we thought they would be easy to spot.  There were a couple of places where they were spotted daily, but we spent over and hour walking and driving around the neighborhood with not a clue as to where they were hiding.  The next day we got lucky and found them in a parking lot, and managed to herd them into an apartment complex where we cornered them on somebody's patio and caught them all.  They went to one of our farm sanctuary friends, and are happily living where they never have to worry about being abandoned again.
 "Why Don't You Pick On Somebody Your Own Size?"

What is it about Green Cheek Conures that makes them think they should attack much larger parrots?  We have seen more Green Cheeks with beak injuries than all other species combined.  They like to fly over to a cockatoo or amazon's cage and attempt to bite them, but the bigger birds always win the biting challenge.  We named this next guy Pugsley, because with his amputated upper beak he looks more like a Pug dog than a conure.  We won't share the graphic photos from when he first came in, but this is what he looks like months later, and it is still pretty shocking.  He had to be tube fed for a while until he learned to eat "pellet soup", which is when you soak pelleted bird food and run it in a blender to make it liquid.  He of course got pain medication and antibiotics, but now is happily living his best life with the volunteer who provided his care for several months.  The only long term care he will need is periodic trims of his lower beak, which will overgrow because it can't wear down by rubbing against the upper beak.  

No, his upper beak will never grow back.

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"Vitamins and Minerals and Protein, Oh My!"

When an owner stubbornly refuses to listen to our advice on how to provide better care for their pets, it is incredibly frustrating and sometimes depressing.  Spanky the Red Lored Amazon lived for decades in a cage suitable for a parakeet, bombarded by the smoke of thousands of cigarettes, eating unfortified sunflower seeds and peanuts from the feed store.  He had overgrowing upper and lower beaks, fat deposits under the skin, discolored feathers, and large fatty tumors on his lower body.  You can see a hint of one of the lumps in his photo, hanging down below him and often rubbing on the perch.  When his owner's health declined so they could no longer care for him, he came to our rescue. 

Spanky learned that healthy eating can be fun!  Between his bowl of multicolored pellets, and the variety of fruits and vegetables we provided, he suddenly had the nutrition his body had probably been craving for years.  He had to have surgery to remove one of the fatty lumps from his belly, and we were surprised to find that he had a hernia, a defect in the muscle layer, underneath.  He might never look completely normal, but he is now happy and loved in a big cage with fresh clean air and all the toys he could ever want.
 "BONUS STORY #11: The PIgeon Palace"

We like to call this structure The Pigeon Palace, because it sounds fancy.  But sadly, when you get up close and look at the details, there are a lot of things wrong with it.  None of these things bother the birds, but for the amount of money we paid, we expected to get exactly what we paid for.  We had a list of 15 complaints, but it turns out the builder was something of a con artist, and we would rather be rid of him than to have him step foot on the property again.

On the bright side, the pigeons are perfectly happy and comfortable with their imperfect home.  They have 2 small sheds for sleeping and escaping the wind, a sturdy roof overhead, wire that keeps out predators, and plenty of room to fly and flirt.

Would you like to donate to help the 345 birds we rescued in 2023?

PayPal to BurgeBirdRescue@yahoo.com

Facebook fundraiser

Debit/Credit Card by calling us at 816-356-4700

Mail a check to Burge Bird Rescue
                          13833 S US Highway 71
                          Grandview MO 64030
"Why Would Someone Abandon Me?"

Every year we feature a story about one of the many birds we take in that was found flying loose outside.  This year, Stacy's story is the most unusual.  This White Bellied Caique was found near one of the picnic tables at Longview Lake.  She was in excellent health, even a little bit overweight, so she obviously hadn't been outside for long.  Her wings had been clipped, but a couple of feathers had grown in on each side.  Did she fly away from someone?  She couldn't have gotten far with so few feathers.  We think she was left where she would be found quickly.  We advertised trying to find her owner, but nobody ever claimed her.  Why would anyone not want such an adorable friend?  Stacy now happily lives with our adoption coordinator, where she is playful and loving, and gets the best possible care, including baths.