Hundreds of injured or sick wild birds come through our clinic doors every year, representing the many bird species found in Alaska. Permits from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game allow us to treat all types of birds covered under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Our patients may be anything from tiny chickadee nestlings to majestic bald eagles. We have even treated surprise visitors, like a red-footed booby from Hawaii!
The primary goal of rehabilitation is to allow the sick or injured bird to recover and return to its normal life in the wild. We are successful in releasing roughly 45% of the birds that arrive. Because a bird must function at 100% to compete for a living in the wild, some remain non-releasable even though in stable condition. Those birds may be placed in licensed educational settings such as zoos or sanctuaries throughout the country. They may also join our own education program, becoming excellent ambassadors for their species to the general public.
Every day, seven days a week, a trained crew provides basic medical care, prepares food and cleans mews for the birds in the clinic.
Our volunteer veterinarians, Dr. Karen Higgs, Dr. Maggie Trefney and Dr. Leslie Kroloff, visit the clinic on a regular basis to evaluate the patients. Among their many duties, these volunteer veterinarians ensure that the proper medical care is being provided by our volunteers.
In the spring of each year, a "Baby Bird Parenting" Class is held to train interested volunteers to meet the special needs of baby birds. They learn proper nutrition, handling, and housing techniques, as well as the importance of avoiding orienting the orphans to humans rather than their own species. Feeding formulas differ from species to species, and as many birds reach fledging size in a month's time, literally every calorie must count. Very young nestlings may require feeding every 15 minutes. When older, young birds must get practice in foraging and recognizing natural foods.
Each year brings us new knowledge and insight into the way birds grow, learn, adapt and thrive. We find birds to be as distinct in their personalities as people are, with some more inventive and resourceful than others, each able to teach us in their own way.
Found an injured bird?
Bird TLC rehabilitates all wild birds, from the largest bald eagle to the smallest common redpoll. If you come across an injured or sick bird, you can call us at 907-562-4852, or bring the bird in to our clinic at 7800 King Street in Anchorage, AK. Thank you for caring about Alaska's wild birds!