Spring is a very busy time for New York City’s only bird rescue.
The Wild Bird Fund, located at 565 Columbus Ave., gets 50 birds a day, said Eugene Oda, a wildlife rehabilitator and veterinary technician who examines incoming birds at the shelter.
It has about 350 birds and has treated some 150 different species.
Being the city’s only bird rescue, it’s not just residents from the five boroughs who bring in birds, but other animals shelters around the city as well.
New York City is a dangerous place for birds, not just because there is only one place to be treated if they get sick, but because of the plethora of tall buildings with transparent windows, the constant flow of car and bike traffic, and the many pollutants that are put into the environment.
And even if an injured bird is found by a good Samaritan who brings it in, it’s chances of survival are not good. About half of the birds that come through the door don’t make it.
It’s not for lack of trying though. The fund does surgery and physical therapy, gives medication,fits birds with splints, and of course feeds and shelters them while they recover.
For the ones that do manage to pull through, they are released back into the wild if they are well enough, or sent to a sanctuary for long-term care.
Rita McMahon, a co-founder and director of The Wild Bird Fund, started the organization in her Upper West Side brownstone in 2005. She had found an injured Canada goose next to Interstate 684, and when she discovered there was no place to take him, she decided to treat him herself.
Twelve years later, the fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with over 100 volunteers and a shoestring budget based on donations.
To the birds that inhabit the city though, it’s much, much bigger.