Throughout the year thousands of wild birds show up injured, sick or orphaned on Port Aransas city streets and highways, in back yards, parks, beaches, bays and canals. Concerned people find them and want to help save them. Often it’s children who find the birds.
Most birds are in distress because of what we, as human beings, do in our modern urban environment with danger from traffic, telephone wires, dogs and cats, tree trimming, lawn mowing, recreational fishing and our desire to remove “nuisance” nesting birds close to our homes. Nature takes its toll, too, with storms, winds and floods. There are few places here dedicated to rehabilitating birds in distress: the Texas State Aquarium (TSA) is one and the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (The ARK) in Port Aransas is another.
We are approaching the busiest time of the year, “Baby Bird Season,” when the ARK cares for numerous baby songbirds (mockingbirds, doves, cardinals, sparrows, etc.) as well as our usual pelicans, gulls, ducks, herons, raptors and sea turtles that we routinely help.
TSA does not take songbirds, hence we get calls from all over the Coastal Bend, especially Corpus Christi and Rockport. If we say “no” to taking in a baby bird or birds, there is not another entity in the Coastal Bend that can or will do so, leaving the finder of the babies wondering what to do, devastating if the finder is a kid.
So far, we have not turned anybody down, but last year we did more than 1,400 birds in addition to nearly 300 sea turtles and 70 other reptiles. The solution to the problem would be to have another ARK-like facility in Corpus Christi that would relieve us of this sometimes overwhelming situation.
This is not going to happen overnight, but I would like to appeal to Port Aransas residents and long-term visitors who would like to help to be a “Baby Bird Bringer-upper” (BBB-u) at the ARK this year. It would mean volunteering for a half or full day of “popping” food down hungry bird mouths. Bird parents in the wild feed their clamoring young as often as every 30 minutes during daylight hours.
We may not be able to duplicate that, but we need to have people become bird parents as best as they can: It’s almost an assemblyline job at times. If you would like to help (and we really need you!) call the ARK at (361) 749-6793. Marsha Owen is in charge of Baby Birds and will train BBB-u’s. You do need to have health insurance and fill out a form to become a volunteer. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I say it one more time: “Please help!”
--Tony Amos, director Animal Rehabilitation Keep