The Wild Bird Fund, which is New York City’s defacto wildlife rehabilitation center, collected signatures this weekend to become the city’s official place to go with injured, sick or orphaned wild birds and animals. They explained to people at a wildlife fest that New York is the only big U.S. city without a real wildlife care center.
So a bunch of volunteer wildlife rehabbers have picked up the slack. Rita McMahon and Karen Heidgerd run the Wild Bird Fund though Animal General, a vet practice that donated care for 1,146 birds and 13 mammals last year.
|Hawk from Teddy Roosevelt Audubon Sanctuary|
A handful of other rehabbers do heroic amounts of work, too. Bobby and Kathy Horvath take the really hard cases, like coyotes and injured hawks. Vivienne Sokol is Manhattan’s bird rehab expert. My friends Vicki Puluso, Chris Durham and Maura Mondrano handle squirrel cases.
Because the city is strapped, the Wild Bird fund is hoping to get a grant from Pepsi. Bobby Horvath has told me the plan got a boost after the recent coyote episode.
The New Yorkers that call me with animal troubles are usually surprised the city doesn’t do anything for wild animals. Renee, a pregnant mom from outer Queens, about a day and night worrying and searching for some solution for the baby squirrels she found abandoned in her air conditioner. (I got to see them at the fest, looking plump and happy. Another rehabber, Ruby, took them in. New Yorkers see baby squirrels like unseen mythical beasts).
The finders and baby squirrels show up as if with a dowry of a cage, esbilac, dishes, blankets and nuts. Which makes me think New Yorkers would be behind getting the center going.