Monday, August 31, 2009

Wild Animal Rescue

So, today Feanor caught another goldfinch. This is the second time this month, and a Bad Sign that, having tasted predatorhood, he's going back for more. We need to work out a few things that'll make it easier for the birds who come to the feeders to get away, and harder for him to get close enough to them for that final fatal pounce. For one thing, from now on he's wearing a collar with a bell whenever the cat door to the balcony is open.

I wasn't able to save the last one, but though this one was badly injured (having lost ten feathers from one wing) and couldn't fly it didn't seem to be in danger of immediately dying. I put it in the wide plate that holds some of the birdseed (finch mix from Wild Birds Unlimited) so it wouldn't starve at least, and later added a little dish of water and moved it into the shade so the sun wouldn't be too much for it.

After a few hours it was clear it wasn't about to die right away --I even saw it eat a little-- but also was too injured to survive without help, which seemed a hopeless proposition. So when I stopped by my local vet's (McMonigle's, who I highly recommend) to buy some of the diet catfood for our oversized cats, I asked if they could give me any advice. They did better: they told me about Sarvey Wildlife Rescue and gave me the phone number of the nearest vet who does pickups for them. I called the clinic (Renton Veterinary Hospital, on Rainier near the Renton airport) and they said to bring it in. I did, holding it while Janice drove, and was encouraged to find that it seemed much more alert in the small box with a loose lid I put it in for transporting in the car; I think it felt less stressed and vulnerable than it had when in the open on our balcony. After some brief discussion and filling out a form, I left it with them, along with a small donation. I called back the next morning, as they'd suggested, and found out it had survived the night. Its main injury was, they said, a broken wing, wh. they had set (or were about to set; I forget which). Later that morning the Sarvey people were due to drop by to take it to their rehab center/shelter.

So, I'm grateful that so far this story has a more hopeful outcome than the last one, which only survived an hour or so after the attack. I'm also glad to find out about the Sarvey Wildlife Center, which is v. much the kind of organization I can support. For an overview of the kind of work they do from a typical month, see the latest issue of their newsletter, available online here:

Also, if you're an animal lover it's well worth poking around on their site for the many pictures and stories thereon. I particularly like the picture of the stellar's jay helping himself to some watermelon seeds:

So, here's hoping that little goldfinch makes a recovery. At any rate, she's in better hands than mine right now.

--John R.

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