Hundreds of birds come through our clinic doors every year, representing many species. 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 patient may be a tiny chickadee nestling or a majestic bald eagle. 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 50% of the birds that arrive. Because a bird must function at 100% to compete for a living in the wild, some remain not releasable even though in stable condition. Those birds can be placed in licensed educational programs and sanctuaries throughout the country or can become part of our own education program, becoming 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. We are fortunate in being allowed to use the warehouse furnished by the International Bird Rescue Research Center for treatment of oiled wildlife, which also allows us to provide swim tanks for sea birds.
Dr. Karen Higgs visits on a regular basis to evaluate the patients. Among her many duties, Dr. Higgs ensures that the proper medical care is provided by our volunteers.
In the spring of each year, a Baby Bird 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 learn and adapt. We find birds to be as distinct in their personalities as people are, with some more inventive and resourceful than others, able to teach us in their own way.
7800 King St.
Anchorage, AK 99518
Monday through Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM