The Bird Center is staffed by a small group of dedicated volunteers who care for and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wild birds. I've always liked birds, having grown up with parakeets. Several years ago, I became familiar with the Bird Center through Friends of Wildlife, when a sparrow flew into my glass door. It turned out to be fine, but some time later, I found a baby starling who fell out of its nest (twice--the first time it looked OK so I put it back, the next time, not so much and it unfortunately died later at the Bird Center).
I've donated flowers for their injured hummingbirds and in the summer of 2005, I volunteered at the Bird Center. I mixed up formula, cut up fruit, fed formula to baby birds with eye droppers, caught any birds that escaped from the cages (which I was fairly adept at, based on my childhood experience, and could do by hand whereas others used nets), cleaned cages, and sorted live mealworms out of their packing material (this seemed to gross everyone else out, but I was fine with it).
Here's what I wrote about my first experience volunteering, B.B. (before blog):
Brawk brawk BRAAAWK brawk squack squack flutter escape from cage chase chase chase return to cage brawk brawk brawk BRAAAAWK brawk brawk BRAAAAAAWK. That summarizes my first volunteer experience at a bird rescue center.
I fed young birds with eye droppers (many, many, many birds--as soon as you're done with the row, the ones at the beginning are hungry again!) and cleaned out cages. Baby birds look nothing whatsoever like their adult form, especially not their mouths, which have to be about three times the size of their body! It was really interesting seeing baby versions of robins, starlings, and other birds.
The center is understaffed, underfunded, and overworked.
I got there by 6:00 p.m. and left at 9:45. My back hurt. My feet hurt. I was tired. The whole experience was tiring. Then I dreamed all night of baby birds with wide-open mouths and never-full stomachs, and still saw those images as I awoke.
I'm looking forward to going again.
Seed Swap Merrily on Its Way
In other news, I've sent off two sets of seeds for my seed swap today. I ended up being a little OCD and put together over 30 seed packets to start off each group. I even braved steadily falling snow during a winter storm advisory to go buy a printer cartridge! (OK, so I like driving in snow in light traffic, I confess!) I added some kind of cool and unusual seeds including rattlesnake master, kiss me over the garden gate, Swiss kale, a bunch of varieties of heirloom tomatoes, and clarkia.