Wild Bird Rehabilitation Blog
Durrell named new Executive Director; Kershner is new Avian Care director
Written by WBR   
Friday, 26 April 2013 18:22

2013 brings new changes to Wild Bird Rehabilitation. Tracy Durrell has been named the new executive director.  The former director, Carol Kershner, "expressed a desire to retire and return as a volunteer avian care manager to help insure the highest standard and consistency of care for our patients", said Leslie Wainwright, president of WBR's board.  Tracy, formerly the volunteer manager was selected for the position "because of her experience and commitment to the organization".

Durrell will be reaching out to our donors and to the community to introduce herself.  She will also be working with new staff this year preparing WBR for the busy spring season.

Tracy has worked in all areas of the center.  With the leadership skills she has shown, she is an excellent choice to lead Wild Bird Rehabilitation forward.

Written by WBR   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 20:02

You may be seeing a House Finch with conjunctivitis.  Their eyes are often crested over and appear blind. 

We see a few finches each winter and last summer suffering from this infection, but this year St. Louis is seeing an increase in numbers.  We have talked to other centers and biologists, and they feel that the drought last summer and following cold winter may have contributed to more finches being affected by this infection.  We'll keep a look out for any new information on this trend.

As of April 15th, we have treated 21 finches for conjunctivitis.  From phone calls to the center, we know there are a lot more birds out there having trouble.  They can be successfully treated, but they won't survive without help. If you see a bird with eye problems, try to catch it and bring it to WBR.

The following "finch facts", taken from Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, has some good information regarding conjunctivitis.


What does conjunctivitis look like?

Infected birds have red, swollen, watery, or crusty eyes; in extreme cases the eyes become swollen shut or crusted over, and the birds become essentially blind.  You might observe an infected bird sitting quietly in your yard, clumsily rubbing an eye against a branch or your feeder.  If the infected birds die, it is usually not directly from the conjunctivitis, but rather from starvation, exposure, or predation as a result of not being able to see.

What causes the conjunctivitis?

Although infected birds have swollen eyes, the disease is primarily a respiratory infection.  It is caused by a unique strain of bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum, which is a common pathogen in domestic turkeys and chickens.  The infection poses no known health threat to humans, and had not been reported in songbirds prior to this outbreak in the 1990's.  Researchers at various institutions are currently trying to learn more about the transmission, genetics, and development of this disease.

Do bird feeders encourage the spread of conjunctivitis?

Whenever birds are concentrated in a small area, the risk of a disease spreading within that population increases.  Even so, feeding birds may not necessarily increase the rate of disease spread, and should not have a net negative impact on the House Finch population.

What can I do if I see a bird with conjunctivitis?

To avoid contributing to the spread of the disease you can take a few preventive measures if you observe infected birds at your feeders:

  1. Take down your feeders and clean them with a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach and 9 parts water).  Be sure to remove any build-up of dirt around the food openings.  Allow your feeders to dry completely before rehanging them.  Wiping the feeders with vinegar or the bleach solution each time you fill the feeder will help keep down infections.
  2. Rake underneath your feeders to remove droppings and old, moldy seeds.
  3. Space your feeders widely to discourage crowding.

The best preventive measure is to clean your feeders on a regular basis.

WBR explores Wild Acres Park
Written by WBR   
Thursday, 24 January 2013 23:37

As a part of Overland, Wild Bird Rehabilitation would like to share what bird life is found just down the road, in a neighborhood park.  Bryan Prather, one of our volunteers with a broad knowledge of birds and their habitat, will be going to Wild Acres Park on a regular basis, often with other volunteers to check out what's happening and throw in a few pictures to keep us updated on what's happening at Wild Acres.

Here's the first report:

Wild Acres park, located in Overland Mo., has a rich history dating back to the early 1900's. Artifact examples include a 1904 World's Fair stone bridge that is scheduled to be reconditioned in the near future. This small 25 acre MDC Park also contains many wildlife secrets that we at WBR are anxious to share. The 3 acre spring fed lake is a catalyst to encourage birds to stop by during migration and stay to nest. It is also used by waterfowl such as Mallard Ducks and Canada Geese throughout the year. The lake is not without its hazards, though, as we soon discovered.

Our first report of the new year was from Sunday Jan. 20th.  Who would've thought that a Great Horned Owl pair nests at Wild Acres? We will monitor them and provide updates of these spectacular birds and their little ones.


Nesting activity from last season was also seen by other bird species. Nests from robins, cardinals, woodpeckers and an unknown bird were discovered in bare bushes and trees. Unfortunately, discarded fishing line was a common sight in most of the nests. Fishing line is very dangerous to both adult and young birds. Mixed foraging flocks, typical in winter, included White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpecker Dark-eyed Juncos and Tufted Titmouse.                        


As we walked the trail, a lone Chickadee was scolding and quite persistent. We found the source of its agitation - the male Great Horned owl! While the owl stayed put, the Chickadee bounced all around in a fleeting protest; the owl paid no attention. Its sights were on the nesting tree that his mate was on. With the sun beginning to set, laroverhead toward their roost somewhere in the distance. What a wonderful sight to see that they rebounded from the devastating effects of West Nile Virus from early 2000.

As we were leaving, Canada Geese were foraging in the grass near the parking lot. One had a leg injury but flew off with the rest toward the lake. We reported it to Wildlife Hotlline and will be monitoring it as well.

Stay tuned for more updates as WBR explores Wild Acres Park.

Scouts Refurbish Aviary
Written by WBR   
Monday, 07 January 2013 23:03

                     working on aviaryWBR       fixing door on WBR aviary       

My name is Michael Hayes and I am a member of Boy Scout Troop 751 from St. Joseph's Parish in Manchester, MO. Over the past autumn, many volunteers and I rebuilt one of Wild Bird Rehabilitation's aviaries as part of my Eagle Scout project.

Volunteers Needed!
Written by WBR   
Saturday, 31 March 2012 16:02

Birds are increasing at WBR. Along with several injured adult Robins, House Finches and more, the youngsters have begun to arrive.  As of the end of March, we have 4 baby Mourning Doves needing help.  More volunteers will soon be needed to help with all the feeding and cleaning of the birds that will be arriving in April. We will see over 500 birds in April alone. Now is the time to join us and the birds!

Call the center at 314-426-6400 and sign up for one of the upcoming Orientation to get started.  Orientations are scheduled in April through August. 


April:  Saturday the 7th, 10:00 - 11:00 am;  Tuesday the 17th 7:00 - 8:00pm

May: Tuesday the 1st 7:00 - 8:00pm;  Saturday the 19th, 10:00 - 11:00 am

June: Saturday the 2nd, 10:00 - 11:00 am;  Tuesday the 19th 7:00 - 8:00pm

July: Saturday the 7th, 10:00 - 11:00 am;  Tuesday the 17th 7:00 - 8:00pm

August: Saturday the 4th, 10:00 - 11:00 am;  Tuesday the 14th 7:00 - 8:00pm

All Volunteer Orientations are held at Wild Bird Rehabilitation, 9624 Midland Blvd., Overland  63114.

Please come and join us.  We look forward to working with you.

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