Jul 22, 2009

How to kill a Sparrow

I received a phone call yesterday from a local lady. Somebody gave her 2 baby sparrows. She said they are getting annoying in the house and the kids got tired playing with them.

I already had a bad feeling...kids playing with birds? I agreed to take them and asked her to please take the birds to my rescue.

A few minutes later I observed 4 kids of around 12 years of age walking down the street, jumping around, bending over every few feet to pick something up off the street.

Turned out these where the little sparrows trying to get away from the kids.

They handed me the birds and I took them inside to check them out.

Both where nearly starved to death, dehydrated, overheated and completely exhausted. They were just sitting there with their eyes closed, too weak to eat or drink.
They died less than an hour later.

I find this one of the most horrible animal cruelty issues, but in reality it was "just" ignorance, lack of knowledge, and the total absence of common sense. The outcome was the same. It caused these baby birds to die a horrible death.

So my advice is: Leave baby birds alone!!!!

If you have to intervene because you KNOW a bird is orphaned, place it in a box, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, and DO NOT handle it. Birds are scared of people and playing and handling it will stress it out. I have seen many birds die of simple stress and it's not pretty.

For more information on birds and how you can help, please read the following:

Thank you for caring.


Agnes said...

Hi. I agree wholly but here's the big dilemma...there ARE NO wildlife or aviary rehabbers who just say "oh sure, bring the poor orphan to me." They just DON'T. I've Googled and e-mailed and called and left messages and I get "we can't help you.", "call someone else" or they simply do not call back at all. The list is slim and the contacts slimmer.
That's why they called you.
I have a 7 day old, orphaned sparrow. A very nice guy who has "raised over 150 wild birds this year" gave me a lot of advice and an ear to bend - but he did not offer to take the bird.
Now I WANT to help the bird. I want to learn all I can so I can feed it, wean it and set it free but the more I read the more I learn that's probably not going to happen. If I'm lucky enough to keep it healthy and to wean it, it will imprint on me so strongly that it won't survive in the wild. I don't have optimal conditions for it. (and I have 3 indoor cats)
So - what to do?
All this to say "Who do I call?"

MissDolittle said...

I hear you! Fortunately sparrows are legal for anybody to have, but for migratory birds, a federal permit is required. It costs thousands of dollars to get set up and the Gov wants fees too. Yet us rehabbers do not receive a cent of support.

Most of us do it from home and only have limited capacity and resources. In most cases the best we can do is to advice how to keep the animal alive until hopefully further help can be found.

Having said that, I very much appreciate you caring for the little bugger!

I can ease your mind on the imprint. That's not going to happen, even if you wanted to and tried really hard. I have rehabbed many many birds including sparrows..that's why they are wild birds and not pet birds. The wild instinct will kick in rather fast.

Unfortunately you don't provide your location, so I can't attempt to locate a rehabber near you.

But I do have a forum where we help people in exactly your situation. Here is one thread about somebody having found a baby sparrow and it explains how to take care of it properly:

Feel free to join and share your story and ask any questions you have!