Baby birds on the mend

Lo­cal shel­ter to look af­ter six wild birds un­til able to sur­vive on their own

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Front Page - BY ADAM RANDELL Adam.randell@gan­der­bea­

Gan­der shel­ter to look af­ter birds un­til they are grown

GAN­DER, N.L. – Nes­tled to­gether in a bed of saw­dust, six star­ling chicks ap­pear con­tent with their new sur­round­ings.

That is un­til Bon­nie Har­ris, shel­ter man­ager for the Gan­der and Area SPCA, moves in to offer a snack on July 11.

Im­me­di­ately, the chicks spring to life chirp­ing, hun­gry for some­thing to eat.

Har­ris called them hearty birds, feed­ing ev­ery hour on strains of wet cat food.

“I’d say they have eaten a can and a half since we took them in,” she said.

With bel­lies full, the chirp­ing sub­sides as they set­tle down for a nap.

The in­va­sive – non-na­tive – species came into the SPCA’s pos­ses­sion, July 9, af­ter be­ing dropped off anony­mously by an area res­i­dent who found the chicks in the vent of their home.

Har­ris es­ti­mates the chicks to have been be­tween eight to 10 days old, as they have flight feath­ers com­ing in.

The shel­ter will keep the chicks un­til they are able to fend for them­selves.

“They do im­print on hu­mans, so we try to han­dle them as lit­tle as we can, be­cause the more you han­dle them the more at­tached

they be­come,” Har­ris said.

Be­cause it’s not a case they take on very of­ten, she as­sumes it will be at least a month be­fore they are ready to leave the SPCA’s care.

“When they get older we will put them in an out­side en­clo­sure,” she said, ad­ding it will al­low the birds to be able to de­velop sur­vival skills.

This isn’t the first time the SPCA has stepped in to as­sist wildlife, as it has cared for moose calves, owls and other wild crea­tures in the past.

“It’s not some­thing we want to be do­ing, but when its placed in front of you, you do what you

can do to help,” said Har­ris.

And re­mov­ing young birds from an area al­to­gether isn’t some­thing the SPCA is rec­om­mend­ing. In­stead, Har­ris sug­gested, set­ting up an al­ter­nate nearby lo­ca­tion, be­cause “wildlife needs to be in the wild”. If a species has to be moved, she rec­om­mends us­ing a bird­house, so the mother can still find her young.

The Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Land Re­sources is in agree­ment with the SPCA’s rec­om­men­da­tion.

“In many cases, re­mov­ing wildlife can do more harm than good, be it an in­jured adult an­i­mal or what ap­pears to be aban­doned young,” said a Depart­ment is­sued state­ment. “Any­one find­ing an in­jured or aban­doned young an­i­mal should leave the an­i­mal where it is.”

With re­spect to young an­i­mals, the Depart­ment in­di­cated, a par­ent may have specif­i­cally placed the young in that par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tion and may not re­turn if the area is noisy, or if preda­tors or peo­ple are close by.

“Re­lo­cat­ing an­i­mals that are con­sid­ered nui­sance, such as birds nest­ing in vents, bats in your at­tic, or squir­rels get­ting into your car or shed and caus­ing da­m­age, may re­quire per­mis­sion prior to re­lo­ca­tion or tak­ing other ac­tions,” read the state­ment. “If you have con­cerns with re­spect to nui­sance, in­jured or aban­doned wildlife, con­tact the near­est Forestry and Wildlife District Of­fice.”


Gan­der and Area SPCA shel­ter man­ager Bon­nie Har­ris feeds one of the hearty star­lings, which feed ev­ery hour.


Gan­der and Area SPCA shel­ter man­ager Bon­nie Har­ris es­ti­mates the six chicks should be strong enough for re­lease into the wild.


Six star­ling chicks are in the care of the Gan­der and Area SPCA. They were dropped off on July 9, by an anony­mous per­son, who dis­cov­ered the chicks in a house vent.

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