To show what our motto “rescue – rehabilitate – release” looks like in a practical, real-life setting, we present a sample release from start to successful finish.
We have here Eastern Bluebirds, who were once endangered but thanks to initiatives such as the Bluebird Trail, they are making a comeback. Once the rescued animals arrive at the Centre, in this case due to being orphaned, they are weighed and measured.
As adults, these birds will measure about 18 cm long and weigh about 30 grams.
They are then given food appropriate to their species. The type of food and methods of feeding differs by species. In this case, according to some literature, baby Eastern Bluebirds may not open their mouths (gape) for a foster parent. However we were able to play a sound recording of an adult bird song and they gaped immediately! This sound recording was then used throughout their care to ensure that they recognize the sound of their own species.
Here they are during a feed:
Once the baby rescues are old enough, they are transferred from special, more intensive care to a general natural environment. They are able to socialize with other members of their species and learn the “rules” of life as a bird. This is the first day in an outdoor aviary:
It is sometimes necessary for us to determine whether the rescued animal is a male or female, especially when dealing with an endangered species. The Eastern Bluebird is of the few birds where this can be easily seen at this age. In this photo, the female is on the left.
Once the Centre caretakers decide that the rescued animal is fit and healthy enough to be released, they are carefully transported to the same location where they were originally rescued. This is so that the animal will be able to easily remember where to find shelter, food, and other members of his/her group. Sometimes, the rescue location is deemed unsuitable for various reasons, and a new ideal area must be found in which to release the animal. This was the case for the Eastern Bluebirds and a perfect habitat was located which included open fields with trees, shrubs, and berry bushes.
Finally the rescued birds are released!