By the time August rolls around, wildlife rehabilitators are fried. There have been months of late-night phone calls, hordes of orphans, and lots of less-than-satisfying encounters with the public, who, shall we say, don’t always have the best interests of wildlife at heart.

Here is a typical wildlife rehabber near the end of August:









But then something amazing happens. Perhaps a bird you thought was a goner suddenly comes back to life. A surgery with a dicey prognosis is a complete success. The local woman with five outdoor cats finally decides to keep all of them inside. A heroic person goes far out of their way to rescue an injured wild creature.

And you are so, so tired, but suddenly life is so, so beautiful … which means your way of showing joy is tinged with dementia. Who knew that the lead singer for The Trashmen was actually a bird rehabber?


Written by Suzie
Suzie Gilbert is a wild bird rehabilitator whose shameful secret is that on more than one occasion she has received a female LBJ, or a fledgling whatever, and has been completely unable to ID it. Luckily she has birder friends who will rush to her aid, although she must then suffer their mockery. She is the author of her bird-rehabbing memoir Flyaway (HarperCollins) and the children's book Hawk Hill (Chronicle Books). Her recent suspenseful, bird-filled adventure novel Unflappable (Perch Press) was selected by Audubon Magazine as one of their Three Best Summer Reads of 2020. She lives in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley and is always up for a good hike.