Birds v. skyscrapers: Rehab center helps wounded

October 12, 2010 3:34:03 PM PDT
Birds of a feather flock together-- and that's certainly the case during migration time. Right now birds are flying south and Chicago's beautiful skyline presents a real hazard.

Meigs Field might be gone but the old control tower is still there on Northerly Island. Now it's occupied by the Flint Creek Rehabilitation Center, where migrating birds who die navigating Chicago's skyscrapers are documented.

"Unfortunately it was a real difficult night last night for the birds that were migrating through the city. A lot of them hit windows in big buildings and as you can see a lot of them died from head trauma," said Dawn Keller, founder Flint Creek Rehabilitation.

Keller and her small army of volunteers picked up more than a hundred birds before sunrise Tuesday morning. Each one will be catalogued as to when, where and how it died and then sent to the Chicago Field Museum for research. Every spring and fall, birds migrate through the Windy City's skyline. Nighttime is particularly tough. The birds that survive their interaction with the skyscrapers are brought to Flint Creek Rehabilitation Center.

"Every bag has a live bird and that jumping is generally good because that means the bird is doing better and is recovering from head trauma," said Keller.

Because of the almost instant care at Flint Creek, about 90 percent of the birds will survive to be released back into the wild.

"What I've learned is that it's sad to see all the dead birds but we have to focus on the ones we can help," said Keller.

Flint Creek Rehabilitation
Northerly Island
1400 S. Lynn White Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605
flintcreekwildlife.org/northerly_island.htm
Phone (847)842-8000


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