Every summer PAWS Wildlife Center is busy with baby songbirds. And lots of them. From American Robins to Northern Flickers, newly hatched to fully-feathered, the Baby Bird Nursery is alive with peeps, cheeps and many dedicated volunteers.
In nature, these baby birds would be fed throughout the day by one or both parents. As such, maintaining this level of care is a tremendous feat. Thankfully, PAWS has an amazing team of volunteers.
At the Baby Bird Nursery, our Bird Nursery Caretaker Volunteers rotate around the room feeding and cleaning. These dedicated individuals have undergone rigorous training, equipping them to provide specialized care for the various species of baby birds. Not only do they know the appropriate feeding and cleaning methods, they’re aware that crows easily habituate to humans and, therefore, must have minimal contact. They understand that swallows and wrens are particularly delicate and must be handled with care.
“Getting to nurture these baby birds is just wonderful,” says Bird Nursery Caretaker Volunteer Candy Brown. A bird lover her entire life, Candy has been returning to PAWS’ Baby Bird Nursery each summer for the last 12 years.
As she approaches the next batch of baby birds, each flaps, peeps, and gapes as wide as possible, eager for the next meal. There are literally a lot of “mouths to feed.” Some are more cooperative, while others are difficult to feed and require a special touch. But the volunteers are undeterred. “It is a privilege to be here,” says Candy. You’ll find this reverence in all of the Bird Nursery Caretakers, who together will log more than 3,000 hours this summer. They work happily, knowing they are playing a direct role in the lives of baby birds that will one day fly free.
The flight to freedom is the ultimate reward, and the Bird Nursery Caretaker Volunteers are encouraged to participate. Candy beams, “The releases are the culmination of all our hard work. They are just fantastic.”
Above: A Bird Nursery Care Volunteer experiences the result of her hard work during the release. (Note the bird rapidly exiting the carrier in the far right corner of the photo.)
Feeding baby birds requires skill and patience.