By Sara E. Teller
WILD WINGS BIRD REHABILITATION, A FULLY-STOCKED BIRD INFIRMARY AND NURSERY, is dedicated to caring for injured birds and abandoned baby birds. The general public, shelters, and humane societies can bring them in for care. Owner Marg Sapp says anyone who sees a bird in need of help can also contact her directly.
“Text me a picture and I will then give advice on what to do, if anything, and offer referrals if I cannot take it,” Sapp said.
In general, Wild Wings accepts songbirds, including robins, finches, sparrows, starlings, cardinals and blue jays, as well as crows, pigeons, and mourning doves. Those inquiring about any others should contact the Michigan DNR office.
The bird rehab is well-equipped to ensure babies and other rescues grow and thrive with its four incubators, two indoor aviaries, three outdoor aviaries, a fully stocked infirmary with oxygen, and a nursery. Baby birds are fed every twenty minutes to one hour from 6 A.M. to 11 P.M. As they grow, they are moved to one of the larger outdoor aviaries where they can work on perfecting their flying skills and learn to eat on their own. Then they are “soft released” on site where backup feedings can take place as needed.
When an adult bird comes in, it is treated for any health concerns and is taken to a veterinarian if needed before being released back into the wild. If, for any reason, a bird cannot return to its natural habitat, it will be tested for placement in a sanctuary or educational setting.
Wild Wings relies on the help of those willing to offer their time and accepts new volunteers or interns from April 1st to September 1st. “We hold a round-up every April at Treat Dreams in Ferndale to find interested people,” said Sapp. “At the round-up they learn about us, fill out applications, sign up for training, and get free ice cream!”
She added that volunteers are welcome to return if they have already offered their time in the past. “Most of my volunteers come back every year, she said. “I have only lost a couple, due to life conflicts.”
WILD WINGS HAS AN 87 PERCENT SURVIVAL RATE, which is one of the highest in Michigan. The rehab takes in over 600 birds every year, and as a 501C3 charity, runs solely on donations and volunteer support. There is a baby bird registry available through Amazon and anyone interested can help provide necessary items for incoming babies such as heat pads, enclosures/habitats, cleaning supplies, and food.
“It was an idea my manager had, and we ran with it,” Sapp explained. “We usually need a ton of stuff before the babies come, so we decided to hold an online baby shower. It has been a huge success. We also have an Amazon wish list, too, so people can purchase supplies and they get sent directly to us.”
During baby season, the center also has a SponsorA-Bird program, which offers those interested an opportunity to get to know one of the birds and track its progress. For $40, a baby bird of the sponsor’s choice is selected and named. A certificate is issued, and photos and updates of the bird are sent regularly, to the sponsor can stay connected throughout the process and watch it grow.
Wild Wings hosts several educational talks a year on relevant topics as well, including what to do if you find a displaced bird, and bird conservation and pigeon awareness. Marg and her volunteers deliver the speeches and bring their two spokespigeons along for the ride.
For more information, contact founder and owner Marg Sapp at WWbirdrehab@comcast.net, 248.701.2523 or visit the organization’s website at wildwingsbirdrehab.org.