For the Birds Radio Program: It's a Bird's Life

Original Air Date: Sept. 20, 1993

How crazy does life get in the home of a rehabilitator? 2:32 (Date verified)

Audio missing


Life in the home of a bird rehabilitator is simply not normal. When our family comes home, we open the door slowly and carefully in case our resident Sora happens to be resting near the door. If she isn’t, the whole family plays “Find the Sora.” She hides out mainly in corners, but sometimes under furniture. You’d think a crippled little bird with two busted legs couldn’t cover much ground, but Beth is surprisingly agile. At first she took all her food out of my hands, but now she’s figured out the mealworm bucket and jumps right in for a feast. She’s quiet and meek, but Sneakers the Blue Jay, Chuckie the squirrel, and Bunter the Wonderdog respect her privacy and never bother her at all.

Most of the creatures living or visiting here seem to respect one another, but Sneakers the Blue Jay and Rosie, my daughter Katie’s pet lovebird, don’t get along at all. When Rosie is loose, she always goes to Sneakers’s cage to harass her. I can’t have them loose together because Rosie attacks Sneakers mercilessly, even though she’s only a third Sneakers’s size.

If I have a kitchen sink full of soapy water when Sneakers is loose, she always takes a bath and then decides it must be time to clean the chandelier. She carefully unhooks the crystals one by one and plops them in the water. Long ago, she watched me doing this and apparently hasn’t forgotten.

Our little orphaned squirrel Chuckie, who has turned into a female, is usually a perfectly wild outdoor squirrel, but occasionally she comes in to play. She hides peanuts in crevices in the curtains and sofa, in the kids’ Lego drawer, in the dirty clothes hamper, and under magazines. Sneakers follows her and pulls out the peanuts as fast as Chuckie hides them. Sneakers hides them in other crevices and in the same Lego drawer. The result is that whenever either of them wants a peanut, they always find one quickly. But whenever I’m sorting laundry, I have to take out all the peanuts, and unless we’re very careful, we hear crunching sounds whenever we sit down. It’s crazy, but it’s home.