Its the time of year in which baby birds are flopping around the ground. Bird intervention has come up a few times this season already and I wanted to put some links up as to what to do if you find injured or baby birds!
Taking an injured animal to a rehabber is a really positive thing to do when its evaluated an animal needs help. Situations in which that is not possible though I often find ethically complicated. Having an animal trapped in my care for life (Chippy) due to lack of knowledge on adapting a young animal to its habitat looms as a strange byproduct of intervention that feels cautionary to me. I had called a professional an hour and half away and she said 'sounds like a pigeon,' which meant it was legal for me to try to keep it alive myself, so I tried, and succeeded in keeping it alive, but not in giving it life skills. This is probably not his best life, nor mine, but here we are!
I’m not a rehabber or an expert and I suggest everyone follow their own gut on responsible action (though legally I suggest everyone follow the laws on wild animals). Personally I’m hesitant on taking things into my own hands, even after having a mother who worked to recover little animals injured by our cats, or having raised a couple of squirrels that came from a felled tree down the street as a child- Nutkin and Boo!!. The straight forward stuff- sure- food & water, getting a critter un-stuck, anything that immediately can relieve a situation, but further handling and care builds the complexity of the outcome. I’ve been really interested in rehab work at times, but also am not sure I have the stomach for it. Its really hard emotionally, spiritually, economically, and physically. So much love for those doing it <3 <3 <3
My own ideas on intervention are always changing also, and of course, every single situation will have very different factors that come into play. What do you do with a starling for example who is very non-native and aggressive/violent towards endagnered bird populations?? I don't love the specist/conservation approach as I think it touches on much more complicated /fraut ideas of natural purity and preservation but I also understand it as we sit here facing mass biodiversity loss and extinctions! What about rats and critters that undermine property, health, and economic stability (which is of course is specist toward humans)? Some old roommates may remember me lining my room in cinnamon one summer to try and not have to kill thousands of ants that were stampeding through the house only to eventually submit to home depot ant traps. There are legal guidelines that are somewhat instructive in terms of not having wild animals in your personal possession (ie migratory bird act, which incidentally Trump has also countered a very different part of it to say companies are no longer accountable for causing ‘incidental bird deaths’ https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/explainer-whats-at-stake-in-the-2020-rollback-of-migratory-bird-treaty-act-protections/) and if intervening, being responsible for then getting that animal to a licensed professional. Ugh, but in the end, I don't know. My mind is awash in ethical chaos and I just can't settle- its great if you save an animal some suffering and its awful if you accidentally kill it!
One thing you can always do, of course is donate to one of the many, many amazing rescues and rehab facilities in this country! They need you! And wildlife needs them! And if you have cats that are allowed outdoors- I especially implore this as an ethical duty.
Here’s a long threaded debate on the philosophical quandaries of intervention to give you an idea of its complexity!
and some articles