PHOTOS: Safe haven for city creatures

e8d5bc48dfeaca8d8ec3717f75895de0

While it’s not quite alligators in the sewers, New York City is home to far more wildlife than many realize.

And on June 2, the city’s first wildlife rehabilitation and education center will open to the public, with a two-day open house at its Upper West Side location.

Since 1998, the Wild Bird Fund has been rescuing wild animals in the city; volunteers often cared for the injured critters in their homes. But now the group has raised enough money to open a two-story, 1,300-square-foot facility, which will include a pool for waterfowl, a surgery room, and space for more than 60 birds and other animals.

The group treats an estimated 1,500 animals a year, many of them birds, said Rita McMahon, director of the center, but other animals as well.

In 2008, for example, a police boat on a security patrol outside the United Nations noticed a beaver struggling in the water. The cops picked it up and brought it to the group. It turned out the animal had become disoriented and swam south in the East River when she should have swum north, said McMahon. Unfortunately, the animal had consumed too much saltwater and died.

An American Bittern was discovered in Queens last year, suffering from leg paralysis. Vets suspected it was paralyzed after ingesting a toxin and would require physical therapy, McMahon recalled. Volunteers held the bird out at arm’s length — while he tried to peck at their eyes with his sharp beak — and others gently moved its legs back and forth. By October he had been fully nursed back to health and was released back into the wild.

Many of the birds they treat are sickened by human pollution, or hit by cars.

The wildlife center handles nearly all of the wildlife calls from 311, said McMahon, as well as those from regular New Yorkers.

Last year, actress Kate Winslet brought in two baby mourning doves that she found on her Manhattan terrace, being attacked by a hawk. Several homeless people bring in injured birds and volunteer to keep watch on them once they are returned to the wild, McMahon said.

“Here in New York, we have a greater diversity of wildlife than even Westchester County,” said McMahon. “There are over 350 bird species in New York City alone. The richness of the land, all the bodies of water, all the parks, make it a very important place for migratory birds to stop and refuel.”

How to donate

The center is funded solely on private donations, and they are still trying to raise money for an operating table, an anesthesia machine, an ICU and raptor cages. McMahon said she also wants the center to be open for educational tours, and plans to teach school kids how to recognize various bird species.
   
Give to the center through wildbirdfund.com/donate

Helping Mother Nature’s own

photos: ©fredcohenphotography

1: This eastern wood duck was treated for a lacerated wing after being attacked by a dog. He was treated and released back into the wild in April.


2: Fledgling European starlings, their mouths open for a meal, were brought in because they were badly dehydrated.


3: A baby opossum was brought in with a fractured jaw. The Wild Bird Fund also got a call on Saturday about a litter of 13 baby opossums in need of food and water.


4: This American Bittern was brought in suffering from leg paralysis, and released in October.


5: This baby squirrel and flying squirrel both came out of their nests too early. Both had to be bottle-fed by volunteers.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Local

Behind the costumes at the Brooklyn Cosplay Fashion…

Echo Chronum, 17, is a quiet and reserved Brooklyn high school student who often buries herself in her homework. But there is another side to…

Local

Reddit helps man locate missing mother in New…

The Reddit community helped Josh Goldberg find his missing mother on Tuesday.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

Movies

Review: 'The Railway Man' is a literal-minded look…

In "The Railway Man," Colin Firth plays a WWII vet suffering from massive trauma acquired from his days as a beaten POW.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC 'targeting' US international Mix Diskerud

Metro New York has learned Mix Diskerud has drawn “interest” from the expansion MLS side, NYCFC.

NFL

Jets announce they will return to Cortland for…

The tradition of holding camp in Cortland began in 2009 when Rex Ryan wanted to get his Jets away from the distractions of New York City.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."