At 8am on Saturday morning Habibi and I were at the dog run. Two things happened simultaneously: I was suddenly beaned on the head by a ball that someone was throwing for a dog, and a baby sparrow fell from a nearby tree. The chick was quickly surrounded by 3 curious dogs and was rightfully scared to bits. I decided to pick it up. We humans are often an unexpectedly compassionate lot. Once it was in my hand I felt responsible for it.
Speed forward to the moral of the story.
“What do you do a with a tiny wild bird?!” At this point there was no chance that I could put it down and leave it to its fate in the bushes. So off to the local vet who said that survival was a 10% possibility. Not too promising. And it wasn’t because the bird was mildly hurt, but because he or she needed to be fed every 3 hours. I thought “I can’t take care of this bird and wake up every 3 hours for however long it will take.” Then it was suggested that I take him to the new Bird Refuge on 88th and Columbus Ave.
I thought, “Hmmm… is this going to be some city refuge; someone there will probably thank me for my concern and when I leave just dump this tiny lowly sparrow in the trash.”
Once I got uptown I was dumbstruck by this new facility. I was greeted by these amazing women who were so warm and gentle I couldn’t believe that they exist in the fast-paced, high voltage NYC. The facility was spotless: it even had a water rehabilitation tank. There were about 100 birds roaming around, seagulls with broken wings, pheasants, doves, sparrows and of course pigeons. The people working there were INCREDIBLE. You couldn’t not fall in love with them.
Needless to say this sort of operation could only be privately funded. The city has no role in supporting it. So get ready for my next fundraiser when the place officially opens on June 2. Some newly designed AB bird pins are now on the drawing board, are headed to production, and the bird refuge will get 100% of the profit.
I know you are probably thinking, “Who cares about a bunch of wild birds? Pigeons — ugh!” But, when you see these women donating their time you will get swept up in the sheer caring that takes place. It’s a pretty amazing example of good will. As a footnote, I was told that Alexis Sparrow will survive.