The ARL provides tips on when and how to rescue a baby bird on the ground
Spring has sprung. The sun is shining. Flowers are blooming. And baby birds are learning to fly.
This time of year, The ARL receives phone calls from concerned citizens who come across baby birds on the ground. Although this sight may seem alarming, remember that part of the process of learning to fly comes with being on the ground. It’s typically best to keep a safe distance and not to intervene unless you’re sure the bird is orphaned or is in immediate danger.
To decide whether or not to step in the next time you spot a baby bird on the ground, follow this helpful flow chart:
If the flow chart points you toward intervention, follow these 11 steps to ensure a safe rescue:
How to rescue a baby bird*†:
- Grab clean container with a lid and line the bottom with a soft cloth. Poke air holes if there are none.
- Wear gloves to protect yourself from the bird’s beak, talons, wings, and any potential parasites.
- Cover the bird with a light sheet or towel.
- Gently pick up the bird and place it in the prepared container.
- Warm the bird if it’s chilled by placing one end of the container on top of a heating pad (low setting) or in a shallow dish of warm water. You can also wrap the container with the warm cloth.
- Tape the container closed.
- Note exactly where you found the bird. This will be very important for release.
- Keep the bird in a warm dark quiet place away from children and animals. Do not give it food or water.
- Wash your hands and any clothing and objects that were in contact with the bird to avoid spreading any potential parasites.
- Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, state wildlife agency, or wildlife veterinarian.
- Get the bird to the wildlife expert as soon as possible. It is against the law in most states to keep wild animals in your home if you do not have a permit, even if you plan to release them.
To find a wildlife expert in your area, contact the New England Wildlife Center.
*Only adults should rescue baby birds. Before rescuing an adult bird, seek guidance from a wildlife expert.
†Source: Healers of the Wild: People Who Care For Injured and Orphaned Wildlife, By Shannon K. Jacobs
Over 3,780 animals were assisted by ARL’s Rescue Services in 2016
Animals found in distress are a common occurrence across the Commonwealth. All because of your unwavering support, however, ARL stands ready to answer the call for help. Thank you for being a part of every on-the-ground action as we help ensure a brighter future when animals are safe and healthy in their habitats and homes.
ARL’s Rescue Services has had a momentous last 12 months, rescuing over 3,780 animals in need! Today we remember our top 10 animal rescues of 2016:
1. 1,400 Westport farm animals – In July, ARL assisted over 1,400 animals living in deplorable conditions in the largest farm animal cruelty case the Northeast has ever seen. ARL’s staff and volunteers worked around-the-clock to assist in the rescue, removal, and specialized emergency veterinary treatment of goats, pigs, horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, cattle, and birds, and other species in dire need of assistance. Many of the animals who remained in ARL’s care after the rescue found their forever homes.
2. 47 Dorchester birds – In September, Rescue Services responded to a call from a Dorchester resident regarding her cat that had become ill and the observation of birds falling from trees. An astonishing 47 Grackle-type birds had fallen to the ground, sick, thrashing and unable to fly, or were unresponsive. ARL quickly moved the birds into isolation and notified neighbors to keep their pets indoors. While many of the birds were too ill to save, 15 were healthy enough to be transferred to a partner wildlife organization for specialized care.
3. 9 Jamaica Plain kittens – In April, the Veteran’s Hospital called ARL regarding a cat stuck under the building. Rescue Services arrived on the scene heard faint meowing from behind the cinder blocks. Slowly, but surely, the team pulled out not 1, not 2, but 9 little kittens who had been trapped under the cold foundation.
4. 8 Lexington ducklings – In April, a concerned citizen heard a distressed chirping sound from down below street level; 8 fuzzy little ducklings had fallen into a storm drain. Local police and firefighters helped ARL’s Rescue Services lift multiple drain covers to locate the frightened ducklings – all while the mother duckling nervously looked on. Fortunately, all 8 ducklings were brought up to safety and reunited with their mother at the local creek several blocks away.
5. Brookline turtle – In February, ARL was called for help when a turtle was spotted motionless on top of the icy pond at Larz Anderson Park. Rescue Services bundled up in cold-weather gear and carefully slid out onto the ice to rescue the Snapper with a large net. When they didn’t get a reaction, it was obvious that the turtle was in significant distress; the team immediately brought the turtle to a partner veterinarian to warm up and receive supportive care.
6. 4 Randolph raccoons – In March, the staff at Red Line Freight Systems had a surprise while unloading a trailer – 3 baby raccoons! Their crew carefully unloaded more pallets while ARL searched for the mother raccoon. Lo and behold, the mom was found hiding behind the last pallet and the family was released back into the wild together in an adjacent wooded area.
7. Yarmouth Port cat – In September, Rescue Services faced one of their more difficult cases this year of a cat stuck in tree (there have been 108 such cases in 2016 to date!). On this extremely windy day, this particular terrified kitty continued to move further and further out on the tree limbs – just out of Rescue Services’ reach. Thanks to some patience and their extensive technical training, however, the team was able to bring the climbing cat down to safety.
8. Brookline owl – In December, a Great Horned Owl found himself in quite the predicament; he’d gotten himself tangled in a soccer net. Rescue Services worked carefully to extract the feathered bird from the net and brought him back to a partner organization for observation and a good night’s rest before releasing him back into the wild the next day.
9. Revere dog - In February, a tiny dog named Frankie and his owner got into a car crash. Startled by the collision, Frankie jumped out of the vehicle and fled from the scene. Fortunately, the next morning, the scared pup was picked up by Rescue Services running along I-93. After hours of searching and a post on social media regarding a missing dog, ARL was able to reunite Frankie with his owner, who was released from the hospital post-accident with a clean bill of health.
10. Hanover “Santa” squirrel – In December, ARL was called to help a squirrel that had a dog bone stuck around its neck. From afar, local residents mistook the bone as a white beard, which is why they named him “Santa Squirrel”. Rescue Services set up a humane peanut butter trap to capture the critter and brought him back to ARL to free him from the bone necklace. The squirrel was released back into the wild soon thereafter – just in time for the holidays.
Let’s help even more animals in 2017 – together!
Your year-end gift before December 31, will not only help us prepare for helping even more animals in need in 2017, but also let you take your contribution into account on your 2016 tax return to the extent allowable under law.
We still need to raise over $350,000 by December 31 to meet our year-end goal and start the new year fully funded.
Thank you for being a champion for animals in need and for giving generously today! Click the red button below to…
HELP ANIMALS NOW
ARL’s Rescue Services frees squirrel stuck in a dog bone
Earlier this week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services team was called to Hanover, MA, to help a squirrel that had a hollow dog bone stuck around its neck. The squirrel had been frequenting the backyard of a local residence for several weeks.
How did the family in that residence know it was the same squirrel? The critter had a very unique trait: a “white fur beard”. Given the holiday season, the family began referring to him as “Santa Squirrel”.
Read the full story, as covered by ABC.
Read the full story, as covered by People.com.
That was, until the family, captured a photo of the squirrel on a high-resolution camera. What the family had mistook as a beard was actually a hollow dog bone stuck around “Santa Squirrel’s” neck!
The Hanover family called ARL’s Rescue Services team for help. ARL promptly arrived on the scene and set up a humane peanut butter trap to capture “Santa Squirrel”.
Once safely inside the trap, “Santa Squirrel” was transferred to ARL’s Safford Memorial Shelter in Dedham, MA for immediate veterinary attention. With a little help from anesthesia to relax the critter, ARL’s Shelter Veterinary Medicine team was able to cut through the bone to free “Santa Squirrel”‘s neck.
Feeling much lighter the next day, “Santa Squirrel” was released back into the wild in Hanover – just in time for the holidays!
With the help of some anesthesia, a veterinarian was able to cut through the bone to free ‘Santa Squirrel’.
On Tuesday, ‘Santa Squirrel’ was released back into the wild in Hanover, MA.
HELP ANIMALS LIKE “SANTA SQUIRREL” HAVE A HOLIDAY THAT’S FURRY & BRIGHT
ARL is a critical resources for animals in our community and for the people who care about them. Only thanks to YOUR support are we able to continue our important work.
Please join us in lending your support at this time. As we approach year-end, we still need to raise more than $500,000 by December 31 to meet our budget.
Give as generously as you can and let us start the new year with the resources to respond whenever we receive that call for animals in need, like “Santa Squirrel”. Click the red button below to…
HELP ANIMALS NOW
Animal owners in the Dorchester Neighborhood notified to be cautious while walking their dogs
Today, the ARL will send 15 birds to Tufts Wildlife Center in Grafton, MA for additional treatment.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) responded to 33 Bakersfield Street in Dorchester, MA on September 8, 2016 in response to a resident who called regarding her sick cat and the observation of birds falling from trees.
The ARL immediately gave emergency treatment to one cat, but unfortunately the cat could not be saved.
Additionally, 47 Grackle-type birds were either falling to the ground, sick, thrashing and unable to fly, or were found unresponsive.
It was determined that the birds should be isolated and neighbors notified to keep dogs and other animals from the area.
Current update on the 47 Grackles:
- 12 birds found deceased on scene
- 8 birds passed away shortly after rescue on their way to the shelter
- 12 birds were humanely euthanized due to their poor condition
- 15 birds remain in good condition in the custody of the Animal Rescue League of Boston Veterinary Team. Today, these animals will be sent to Tufts Wildlife Center in Grafton, MA.
The ARL continues to work with the State Department of Agriculture, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, City of Boston Inspectional Services Department, and Boston Public Health Commission to determine the cause of this unusual incident.
DONATE NOW to ensure that animals in need, like the many Grackles involved in this case, receive the critical veterinary care that they need.
If you see signs of blood sports, you say something – how you can help animals
As part of our “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” public awareness campaign this month, we are focusing on the topic of “blood sports.”
A dog who is a victim of the illegal blood sports known as “dog fighting” and “street fighting” suffers just as much on the inside as he does on the outside.
We sat down with Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, the ARL’s vice president of animal welfare, to learn more about the effects of blood sports on the animals involved.
Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare, hosted a talk in January on dog fighting by the ASPCA’s Terry Mills in conjunction with the New England Federation of Humane Societies
ARL Blog: What are some common physically identifying signs of a fighting dog?
Dr. Smith: Fighting dogs end up bearing many scars, usually clustered around the face, neck, front legs and chest. Dogs can also suffer much more severe injuries such as broken bones and disfigurement of their ears, snouts, etc.
The scars that are visible on the outside of a fighting dog are only the tip of the iceberg in what the dog has suffered.
ARL Blog: What generally happens to the “winner” – or worse yet – the “loser” in a dog fight?
Dr S: Dogs who “win” will fight again and again, earning higher stakes with each victory.
Dogs who “lose” have a much sadder fate. They have been discovered on the side of the road, floating in the harbor, and in the garbage. They can die shortly after the fight from trauma, but more commonly they die from a lack of appropriate veterinary attention to their wounds.
Ultimately, all dogs become the “loser” and thus find themselves abused multiple times: by inhumane housing and emotional neglect, by the fights themselves, by the life threatening infections they develop, and by the cruel deaths they suffer at the hands of their owners.
ARL Blog: What are some other “blood sports” that people should be aware of and what are the physical effects on the animals involved?
Dr S: Cockfighting (two roosters) and finch fighting (perching birds) are common in Massachusetts.
During Cockfighting between two gamecocks, owners will inject a toxic form of pesticide to increase their endurance and often attach knives to the bird’s legs. Every fight ends in serious injury or death, often for both of the birds involved.
Finch fighting between two male and one female bird has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. During finch fighting the owner will attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure maximum injury to the female finch which ultimately results in their demise.
Learn more about signs of dog-related blood sports
We ALL have a role to play in prevention. Report suspicions of animal cruelty. If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.Learn more about what you can do at arlboston.org/take-action.
Recognizing National Dog Fighting Awareness Day
The ASPCA designated April 8 as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day to increase understanding and awareness about dog fighting. As part of our continuing “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” campaign, we encourage animal-lovers to take action against all blood sports, an extremely brutal form of cruelty.
What are “blood sports”? Blood sports are defined as an illegal sport or contest involving the bloodshed of animals for the purpose of gambling or entertainment, and include:
- Dog fighting is a brutal sport or contest in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit/ring to fight one another for the purposes of entertainment and gambling. The fight ends when one dog can’t continue due to exhaustion, injury, or death. Each year in the US, an estimated 140,000 people and 250,000 dogs are involved in dog fighting despite the fact that it is prosecuted as a felony crime in all 50 states.
- Street fighting is an impromptu altercation between two dogs instigated by their respective owners or gangs in either a private location or common public gathering area, such as school yards, parks, or abandoned buildings. In some cases, the owner encourages their dog to attack a stray.
- Cockfighting is a sport in which two gamecocks (roosters), specifically bred for aggressiveness, are placed in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death. Owners often will inject doses of stimulant drugs, hormones, or vitamins to increase endurance and attach knives to the gamecocks’ legs.
- Finch fighting is a sport between two male and one female perched birds that has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. Owners typically attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure the female finch’s demise.
Our Law Enforcement team works with animal control officers to identify signs of blood sports. Here are 3 common warning signs:
Whether you live in a rural, suburban, or urban neighborhood, animal “blood sports” happens in all types of areas across the country, including Massachusetts. The ARL’s Law Enforcement team, for example, continues to assist the Bridgewater, MA police department in an investigation involving two dogs who had sustained injuries consistent with involvement in blood sports.
Blood sports are a major concern for public safety as it’s often linked with gang activity and other serious crimes such as human assault, homicide, drug possession/distribution, and illegal gambling.
Based on the ARL Law Enforcement team’s experience, building an effective legal case against this type of crime is complicated, due to the multitude of individuals, groups, and gangs that can be involved. Fighting animals – especially dogs – are bred in Massachusetts and transported to other states to fight, making it very difficult to track the activity.
How can communities prevent blood sports from happening?
- Animal control officers and humane investigators focus on breaking up an animal fighting enterprise and immediately remove animals from the situation.
- You can help raise awareness and encourage intervention; both are critical to preventing this type of crime before it occurs!
We ALL have a role to play in prevention. Report suspicions of animal cruelty. If you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.
Learn more about what you can do at arlboston.org/take-action.
Spring into action today and support the ARL’s Rescue Services!
From high in trees to icy ocean waters, from burned out building to spillways with surging currents, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services team has trained to save domestic animals and wildlife from all these situations and more.
The ARL is the only animal welfare organization in Massachusetts that has an entire department dedicated to rescuing animals from a variety of emergency situations. Domestic animals and wildlife can get trapped, displaced, injured, or otherwise distressed anywhere at any time of day, and our Rescue Services team stands ready to help as quickly as possible.
See the ARL Rescue Services team in action in this profile story by Boston.com
No one wants to see animals suffering.
Our rescue services team swam out to save this poor duck trapped on the ice, tangled in finishing line.
Whether it’s a duck trapped in fishing line, a mother cat and kittens stuck under a shed, or a deer trapped in mudflats, having trained and experienced rescue team to call is critical to protecting the safety and welfare of animals in our community. But providing emergency rescue services for thousands of animals every year is very expensive.
The ARL does not receive any government or public funding for rescue services and relies entirely on supporters like you to continue this important work!
An anonymous donor has challenged us to double a $5,000 donation and raise $10,000 in just 7 days for animal rescue. In other words, your donation today to the ARL’s Spring Into Action Rescue Fund Drive will go even further aiding animals in distress!
All donations made from April 7-14, 2015 will go directly to support our Rescue Services program.
Visit arlboston.kintera.org/rescue or click the green button below to make a donation now.
SHARING IS CARING! Spread the word about our Spring Into Action Rescue Fund Drive and encourage your friends and family to support emergency rescue services for animals in distress!
April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Awareness Month
In support of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month this April, the ARL is kicking off its Spring “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” campaign.
Animal cruelty comes in many forms, including physical abuse, neglect of basic care, abandonment, dog fighting, and animal hoarding. Because many studies have demonstrated a strong link between cruelty to animals and other forms of domestic and community violence, prevention plays a critical role in improving the safety and welfare of both animals and people in Massachusetts.
Know your state’s animal cruelty laws
In 2014, the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection assisted in over 300 animal law enforcement cases. Unfortunately, this is a small number when you consider the startling statistic that 4 out of 5 animal cruelty cases go unreported.
We all have a role to play in prevention. Be aware and get to know the animals in your neighborhood. If you suspect animal cruelty, call your local authorities right away. Help raise awareness and educate others about this issue.
Learn the 7 most common warning signs of animal cruelty and take action!
While most of us recognize that punching, kicking, burning, choking, or hitting an animal with an object are acts of animal cruelty, there are also several more subtle warning signs of animal cruelty to watch for that could indicate mistreatment, neglect, or abuse:
- Howling or barking for a sustained period of time or hearing an animal cry in pain with higher pitched, more persistent vocal sounds than usual.
- Singed, matted, chronically or excessively dirty hair or fur.
- Wounds, unusual scars, hair loss, frequent limping often on different legs, or signs of improper nutrition such as weight loss or prominent visible ribs.
- Animals kept caged or tied with little room to move for long periods of time or without regular interaction with people
- Lack of protection from the weather or fece- or debris-strewn living areas for animals.
- Collars, leashes, or halters so tight they visibly dig into the animal’s face or neck.
- A large number of animals coming or going from a property.
If you know of or suspect animal cruelty, report concerns to your local authorities. Learn more about how you can prevent animal cruelty at arlboston.org/take-action
Report suspicions of animal cruelty. If you see something, say something.
ARL Rescue Team on the scene to help
Thanks to fast efforts from his caregiver, park rangers, and the ARL’s rescue services team, a family dog is warming up after he realized a little too late that it wasn’t a good day for a swim.
Energized by the warmer temperatures and sun as he was playing at West Roxbury’s Millennium Park on Tuesday afternoon, the happy-go-lucky dog decided to take a dip in the inviting stream running on the outskirts of the park.
ARL senior rescue technician Danielle Genter gave the chilly dog a towel rub down after his rescue from a stream.
After one pass across the stream, he decided that the water was just a little too cold for his liking. Unfortunately, an icy shelf stood between him and dry land, and he seemed none to eager to swim back across. Searchers found him hanging on the icy shelf waiting for help.
Working alongside the dog’s caregiver, Boston Park Rangers, and the Boston Police, senior rescue technician Danielle Genter extended a catch-pole across the narrow stream to grab hold of the dog.
The grateful pup got the picture and allowed Danielle to move him off the ice, back across the water, and on to solid ground. He hopped right in to the awaiting warm vehicle to get a towel rub down.
The dog appears to be doing well and our rescue team recommended he get a check-up with his veterinarian to make sure all was well.
With fluctuating temperatures, the snow and ice are definitely starting to melt! While this is a happy sign that Spring is just around the corner, it’s also a sign to stay alert with your pet.
Keep your dog on a leash and if you’re walking near “frozen” ponds, lakes, or streams, remember ice is not always uniformly thick or stable. In addition to the dangers of falling through thin ice, also remember dogs don’t consider the water temperature before bounding in for a swim. For more winter pet health and safety tips, visit arlboston.org/winter-pet-health
SPECIAL THANKS to Boston Park Ranger Sergeant Al Hurd and the Boston Police Department who provided help and assistance to our rescue team today!
So many reasons to adopt from the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Bringing an animal into your home and making them a part of your family is a very special event indeed. In fact, some of the happiest work we do at the Animal Rescue League of Boston is helping you find a super pet!
The ARL finds homes for about 3,000 animals every year, including cats, dogs, birds, bunnies, ferrets, cows, sheep, horses, snakes, and lizards. We take in animals from a variety of circumstances, but a large portion are responsibly surrendered to us because of “people-related” reasons—their owners were moving, had no time because of a job or life change, or suddenly became sick or financially unable to care for their pets.
Animals like Pringle (pictured upper right), Cupid (pictured middle right), and Peach and Rosalina (pictured bottom center), all have big hearts with lots of love, loyalty, and good company to give to human companions—day and night!
When you adopt from a shelter, you’ll feel good about giving an animal a chance at a better life. And not just one animal – when you take your new pet home with you, the ARL can take in another at one of our shelters.
In addition to those fantastic feelings of helping a fellow living thing in need, you can also rest assured that, before they go to a new home, every adoptable animal at the ARL receives:
- Spay/neuter services
- Health screening and veterinary examination
- Behavior screening and evaluations
- Flea, tick and mite treatment
- Feline Leukemia test for cats/Heartworm test and preventive medication for dogs
- Microchip identification and registration
With the help of the dedicated staff at our animal shelters in Boston, Brewster, and Dedham, you can learn more about whether a particular animal you meet at our shelter is a good pet-match for you before you bring them home.
Search adoptable animals at our shelters
Already adopted a super pet from the ARL or another animal rescue group? We want to hear from you!
Post a picture and share the story of your super rescue pet on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with #ARLSuperpets. Once a week, we’ll pick a winner from all the entries to receive a super pet prize.
Every picture and story you share helps spread the word about just how super rescue pets can be.
Stay tuned for more super pets stories, news, and pets of the week this summer!