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Take a Bird to Rehab ... Without the Awkward Intervention

By Olivia Leigh in Miscellaneous on Oct 10, 2006 7:35PM

Chicagoist grew up in a “wooded area” where birds crashing into giant glass windows was a regular occurrence. Unfortunately, for most of these birds, the blow would often mark the end of their little worm-eatin’ lives. But in the city, the future of crash-and-burn birds is looking a little better, as many can now receive a second chance on life at the bird hospital in the old Meigs Field terminal on Northerly Island.


The avian rehab center was started in the spring by the Chicago Park District, and was chosen from a number of ideas suggested in public meetings for possible uses for the former airport. Although the hospital is a small, part-time operation, Dawn Keller, director of the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Barrington, said that it’s important to have a location downtown where city residents can take the birds that hit window panes or high-rise buildings, especially during their twice-yearly migration. Before the center opened in the spring, the likelihood of crashed birds’ survival was significantly lower. In the past, Chicagoans had to make the long drive to rehab centers in the suburbs, a trip that didn’t allow for high rates of bird survival –- if bird finders decided to make the drive at all.

Keller said that due to the new location in the city, birds’ survival rate is more than 85 percent if they are brought in. Since we first reported on the plans to build the hospital, the one-room operation has treated more than 900 birds, including more than 250 birds just last week.

So, dear readers, if lack of knowledge, high gas prices or needing to get ready for that hot date of yours at Kaze was preventing you from helping a bird in need in the past, you’ve got no excuse now. If you find a bird and want to help, due to the limited hours, you are encouraged to make an appointment by calling 847-602-0628. More information is also listed on the Flint Creek Wildlife’s website.

Image from Flickr user bc_anna.