Help the AWC keep birds safe this spring

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, March 6, 2013

By KATIE MCDOWELL / Lifestyles Editor

Beginning in March, the first of Alabama’s birds will return during the spring migration.

They will have traveled thousands of miles from tropical and humid locales in Mexico and South America. They fly for weeks at a time, perhaps even a month, until they reach their final destination.

Scores of bird species return to Alabama during the spring migration, Alabama Wildlife Center Education Director Jay Eubanks said.

“Early March is when you’re going to see the first birds start to make their way back. Most of them will be here for sure by the end of April,” he said.

The Alabama Wildlife Center is a non-profit organization that treats injured birds and releases them back to the wild. The AWC sees an increase of bird intakes in the spring due to the migration and baby bird season.

If you come across an injured bird, please consider taking it to the AWC to be treated.

The AWC gives instructions for handling injured small birds and mammals on its website:

uCover the eyes. Hold a large towel in front of you like a blind and slowly approach the animal. Drop the towel over its head. This helps calm the animal and prevents it from seeing what you are doing.

uWear heavy gloves. Pick the animal up and immediately place it in a suitable and secure container, preferably a cardboard box.

uKeep the animal warm and quiet. Refrain from petting, feeding or talking to the animal. Do not unnecessarily peek at the animal.

Call the Wildlife Help Line at 205-663-7930, ext. 2 and leave a message. A trained wildlife specialist will return your call and give guidance on how to proceed. If you find a large bird or mammal in distress, call the hot line before attempting to handle it.

Katie McDowell is the Lifestyles Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 19 or by email at