Photo Credit: Paul Maury | Macaulay Library

Animal Rescue Seeing an Influx of Feathered Patients

There are easy ways you can help keep birds' valley visits as painless as possible

Orange-breasted bird arrives in record numbers… Help keep them safe.

Winter usually brings mountain birds down into the valleys.

They’ll undoubtedly bring a song and splash of colour to lowland areas. But in return, birds can face hazards when they fly into town.

The varied thrush is one of those birds you’d have to try hard not to notice lately.

It’s a relative of the more widely known robin redbreast. Sporting an eye-catching bright orange throat paired with an eerie one-toned song, it’s one of the island’s most attention-getting birds.

According to the Comox Valley Christmas Bird Count, we’ve seen the highest levels of varied thrush in the valley since the 1980s.

This is a good thing when we’re used to hearing about disappearing species.

While they may be great at grabbing our attention, they’re not so good at noticing humans. Or, more specifically, our cats and windows.

It’s lovely to see them flitting around your backyard. But a lot less so seeing them get injured in fly-by accidents.

Unfortunately, the MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre has seen more of these beautiful birds than usual.

The thrushes spend most of their year in the mountains away from humanity’s hazards. But recently, they have been having a rough go of it down here.

While down in the valley, they’re prone to everything from your run-of-the-mill window crashes to cat attacks.

These are the risks that come with the lower terrain and humanmade environment. Our feline friends don’t help matters, either.

But according to James MacKenzie, the education program coordinator at MARS, everyone can play a part in keeping them safe.

“What can you do to help?

Keep your cats indoors and treat your windows with feather-friendly window decals from our gift shop,” MacKenzie wrote in the Comox Valley Record.

He also suggested looking for DIY options, such as through the FLAP Canada website.

With these small measures, we can co-exist a little more peacefully. And slow down the vet hospital’s admittance rates.

Or, if you want to help fund a tiny patient’s recovery, you could also donate at MARS Wildlife Rescue.

And if you’d like to see the MARS crew–and their feathered friends–in action, take a trip out and see them yourself. Their visitor centre is located north of Courtenay at 1331 Williams Beach Road.

We can be good hosts to our avian visitors with just a little effort.

And there’s nothing flighty about that.