Animal rescuers save baby birds, give them life

Starlings rescued by Kasia’s Ark Bird Rescue in Pontchatoula.

The alert was issued on Facebook with a photo posted by the Good Samaritan who found two chicks that apparently fell out of their nest in Bayou Gauche.

Many people commented on how to help, but a woman picked them up and brought them to Kasia Perkowska, of Kasia’s Ark Bird Rescue in Ponchatoula, who soon identified them as starlings and said they’re now doing really well. Her latest photos of them eating, learning how to fly and soon ready to return to the wild are very different than the original one of them barely with feathers laying on a towel like little rag dolls.

“They’re just learning to fly,” Perkowska said.

Typically, she raises birds until they learn to eat on their own and fly, and then she releases them. These birds are already eager to fly, but they’ve likely got another six weeks of growing up that includes time spent in an outdoor aviary where they’ll learn to catch bugs and then, on a morning when it’s not raining, she’ll open the door.

They are among seven starlings Perkowska helped this week, and they come from throughout the area, some as far as three hours away. While she picks up rescues, friends and residents also bring them to her.

Perkowska, like Verna Cambre of Norco, are wildlife rescuers.

Both of them rescue animals in St Charles Parish at their own expense.

Cambre, known as the “cat lady” for rescuing felines, also has rescued birds for years although she does not accept rescued animals. She does it more now since she retired after 35 years as a bus driver with St. Charles Parish Public Schools. The cats go to the parish’s animal shelter to be neutered and then she releases them to the wild, too.

“I’ve been saving baby birds for years,” said Cambre, who is bringing a bird to Kasia’s Ark, too. She recommends bringing these animals to a shelter for help.

In addition to cats, her menagerie of rescues has included birds, squirrels and even a baby possum. She’s nursing a sparrow that considers Cambre her mother.

“It kind of flies,” she said. “It still opens its mouth for me to feed it. It jumps on my shoulder I put him on the counter on a piece of paper. I guess he thinks I’m his momma. He just won’t eat on his own.”

But she has a soft spot for squirrels.

Cambre is still grieving the loss of Chippy, a squirrel rescue she kept for nearly 10 year until it died last year. She went everywhere with Cambre, including camping and visiting her niece in Florida.

“Everybody knew Chippy,” she lamented over the loss of her much loved pet. “She died on June 14, 2018.”

For Kasia’s Ark, the local rescues have included a baby heron, several Blue Jays, a couple of chicks after Easter, and several sparrows, starlings and grackles from this parish alone.

“I also picked up a young peacock from Norco from a lady that called me and told me she found a bird with bunny ears,” said Perkowska, who thought she was describing an owl. “Couldn’t figure it out, then I get there and it was a peacock.”

Perkowska’s favorite pet is called Malutka (Polish meaning little) and is the reason she got into rescuing animals. Nearly 15 years ago, she found the “naked baby bird” in the backyard of her then new home. She intended to release it, but later learned these birds imprint on a human if handled a certain way and kept it as a beloved pet.

The bird mimics sounds and when younger would say “Kiss kiss,”  “Give me that” and called her son by his name, Nicholas.

Perkowska said she loves these birds, despite them typically being disliked as an invader species. But she said they’re much misunderstood, adding, “They’re like toddlers. They’re very inquisitive.”

Animals that typically need rescuing

  • Starlings
  • Blue Jays
  • Squirrels
  • Ducks
  • Chickens
  • Kittens
  • Sparrows


About Anna Thibodeaux 1944 Articles
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