GARDINER — This weekend in honor of spring and wild things, All-Star the red-tailed hawk and Jet the Harris’ hawk will make special appearances.
The two raptors, badly injured and rehabilitated at Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue, are non-releasable, said director Cynthia Daily — but they fulfill a critical purpose. As part of the wildlife rehabilitation center’s education team, Jet and All-Star can be admired during the Baby Bird Shower, a fundraiser from noon till 2 p.m. Saturday at Wild Birds Unlimited. The event, held in the shop’s garden at 275953 U.S. Highway 101 east of Sequim, is free to the public.
The past year has been one for expansion at Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue. In addition to caring for dozens of injured birds — from ravens to flickers, robins, falcons and golden and bald eagles — Daily is working with local veterinarians to remodel the place. Drs. Joyce Murphy, Virginia Johnson and Cindy Alexander are among the vets advising her on construction of the facility, to be equipped with surgery lighting and X-ray and anesthesia units.
Daily’s 1,500-square-foot barn is being turned into a bird recovery center with a flight cage opening out from one side; she plans to build an amphitheater for people to visit and watch the birds who are ready for viewing.
Saturday’s shower, meantime, is for the young birds who come into the center wounded or orphaned. To raise them, Daily and her volunteers go through many pounds of dog and cat food, bird seed, paper towels, potty pads and Kleenex.
They also need dishes, small plastic baskets, heating pads, soft-sided pet carriers, heat lights, neck pillows and inflatable neck rings.
COVID-19 safety protocols will be practiced, Daily noted, adding the Wild Birds Unlimited patio provides space for her and the avian educators to spread out. For information, phone DBWBR at 360-379-0802 or Wild Birds Unlimited at 360-797-7100. More about the center’s work is found at www.discoverybaywildbirdrescue.com.
Daily, a certified wildlife rehabilitator with some 37 years of experience, was protective of the youngest patients during a tour of her place Thursday. She allowed a four-week-old great horned owl, in a large wooden enclosure with his surrogate parents, to be photographed, but only for a few seconds. Then it was on to visit Jet, All-Star, Merlot the American kestrel, and a pair of barn owls, Orion and Twilight.
That owlet, two weeks old when it was brought into the center, had fallen from the nest. Soon after arrival, it was introduced to a pair of adults who will teach it how to be a great horned owl, Daily said, so it can be released.
Unlike the center’s permanent residents, whose bodies were too damaged for them to survive in the wild, many patients will be turned loose, Daily said. A golden eagle, two hawks, and a fledgling hummingbird are on deck to be released in the next two weeks.
At the same time, other birds of various species are convalescing: Daily spent Easter rescuing an injured gull in downtown Port Townsend. Springtime brings orphaned babies, raptors struck by cars — and phone calls from across Jefferson, Kitsap and Clallam counties.
“We take pride in answering our phone with a person, even after hours and late at night,” Daily notes in her newsletter.
“We love it,” she adds.
”It’s a privilege to help these birds who enhance all of our lives.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]peninsuladaily news.com.