Wildlife Center holds baby bird shower

Published 9:37 pm Saturday, May 7, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The day before Shelby County residents stopped to give thanks for their mothers, many locals took time to thank those who care for animals who have lost their mothers.

The Alabama Wildlife Center at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham hosted its second Baby Bird Shower event May 7.

During the event, many brought donations of everything from money to toilet paper as center employees and volunteers held events designed to show visitors of all ages how to care for orphaned, lost or injured baby birds.

“This is a great way for us to show people what we do here and what they can do to help keep birds wild,” said center Director Beth Bloomfield.

The center regularly works to rehabilitate injured or orphaned birds from all over the state before returning them to the wild, if possible. The majority of birds brought to the center are juveniles, Bloomfield said.

During the event, center employees and volunteers showed visitors how to make foods for many local bird species, conducted classes to describe the different types of birds in the center’s care and allowed visitors to see how baby birds are fed.

Spring and summer months usually bring the most number of baby birds to the center, and the facility recently saw a spike in its number of juvenile birds because of the April 27 severe weather.

Because the number of birds the center houses typically rises this time of year, the center’s needs also rise, Bloomfield said.

When the center receives a lost or orphaned baby bird, volunteers usually create a makeshift nest with a plastic berry container and toilet paper.

“During the last baby bird shower, we got 962 rolls of toilet paper, and went through that in about two months,” Bloomfield said with a laugh.

Every time center volunteers receive a baby bird, they make every attempt to find the bird’s parents and reunite the family, Bloomfield said. Although the center is set up to care for nearly every type of bird, the baby birds will receive much better care from their parents, she said.

“The biggest challenge with babies is trying to reunite them with their parents. We depend on the people who find the babies to tell us if they see a nest around or if they hear the parents making a fuss,” Bloomfield said. “We have been able to reunite five babies that we received because of the storm with their parents.”

Bloomfield said she enjoyed seeing visitors learning more about the center, and said the donations to the center served as a nice Mother’s Day gift.

“Our patients are not at all grateful. These birds are wild, and they don’t enjoy being here at all,” Bloomfield said. “We are just big scary monsters to them.

“It means a lot when people bring in donations and say thank you,” Bloomfield added.