Okay, so you had my number; you knew what you were doing was illegal—what’s your excuse?
“I thought they were sparrows.”
Hmmm…there are a zillion different species of sparrows, and only the house sparrow isn’t federally protected; how did you know these weren’t one of the numerous protected species?
“Well, they turned out to be house finches.”
Which you knew about a week into your illegal activities, so why didn’t you call me then?
Okay, what have you been feeding them?
“[A commercial handfeeding diet for exotic birds], dairy products and [various other foods this bird wouldn’t have in the wild].” (I’m not listing specifics to avoid giving anyone else the bright idea to attempt this.)
None of that is appropriate for those birds. They now have severe nutritional deficiencies.
“They look just fine to me.”
Yeah, and I’ve had people bring me half-starved birds, covered with food and feces, with diarrhea that was pure water, and they told me they’d been taking “good care” of the birds.
I never saw the birds, but the Law Enforcement Division of DNR in this woman’s area is now investigating the situation. Yeah, I reported her; she was breaking the law and totally unrepentant about it. Don’t screw around with the wildlife I bust my butt to save, expect me to clean up your mess, and further expect me not to report your illegal activity. Ain’t gonna happen.
And in another instance of “why the hell are your cats outside, anyway?” LWR received two young but independent (i.e., out of the nest and own their own) Eastern cottontails. The caller originally took one from her cat, then called me back less than an hour later with a second, also taken from her cat. Neither was injured but since cat saliva is toxic to rabbits if they ingest it while grooming themselves or each other—and also because I wasn’t letting her put the poor babies back out for the cat to kill the second go-round—I took the rabbits, wiped them down with a rabbit-safe cleaning cloth (designed for cleaning domestic rabbits), medicated them to be on the safe side, observed overnight and released the stressed little darlings in the deep woods behind my house. Rabbits don’t do well in rehab settings, so the sooner we can get them back out, the better.