This year’s wildlife season brings many challenges to wildlife rescue centers and rehabilitators. The COVID-19 situation, with social distancing and limited gatherings, has meant that many wildlife centers have lost a key source of their donation income. At New York Wildlife Rescue, the organization I work with, the educational programs have had to be put on hold, and that means that a large percentage of their donations have dried up. There are many other wild animal rescue organizations, and individual rehabbers, in the same situation.
Everyone knows I love birds. I’ve been a bird-watcher since early childhood. Some of my favorite early memories involve lying in my Aunt Sis’s hammock as she taught me all about the birds that visited her feeders. I am now so fortunate to live in a place where I am surrounded by miles of natural habitat. From my vantage point, with all of the wonderful species I see every day, I would never have guessed that nearly 3 billion birds have disappeared from North America since the 1970s.
Not long ago, I was watching an episode of a DVR-recorded television show in the den. The television is near our large aviary. Stars likes to sit on a high rope perch, where she can look down at the screen. An email came through on my cell phone, so I paused the playback for a few minutes to tend to it.
Stars, began to chatter. She started with, “Hi, Hi, Hello, Hi.” After each greeting, I absentmindedly responded in kind. Finally, sounding quite insistent and even frustrated, she blurted out, “I see to Mommy’s TV!”
Apparently she was growing impatient that I had paused her show. I pressed Play, and she happily returned to watching the program.