Rehabbers are all – well, almost all – connected by the internet. We join listservs so we can talk to compatriots, even if they live across the country, about things like the latest treatment for aspergillosis, what’s going on with West Nile, and who’s had what kind of experience with eye infections. Every once in awhile, though, night will fall and you’ll read some kind of rant, and you know there’s a rehabber out there in cyberspace sitting in front of his/her computer with a great big glass of wine.

My favorite group rants are when rehabbers report their calls from the public. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the names of those involved in this one except for Linda Hufford, who started it. Linda runs a wildlife rehabilitation center in Austin County, Texas, and one night she wrote to our listserv that a woman had called her that afternoon and told her that Mockingbirds had gotten into her house, taken over her brain, and were telling her what to do.

“I know what you mean,” Linda had replied to the woman. “That happens to me all the time.”

The starting gate opened.

“I had one yesterday,” wrote another rehabber. “It was a guy who said he’d found a baby crow, and he could tell it was a baby because it opened its mouth to bite him, and he could see it didn’t have any teeth yet.”

“A woman called me about a hawk in her yard,” wrote another, “and she said the hawk was about two feet tall when it was standing on its hind legs. I wanted to ask her, ‘but how tall is it when it’s on all fours?’”

“I had one who called me up,” wrote another, “and said ‘you’ve got to get over here right away and get this killjoy out of my yard.’”

“Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to get killjoys out of my yard?’ replied another. “I just didn’t know who to call.”

As it turned out, the killjoy turned out to be not a killdeer but a thrasher, which provoked even greater internet rehabber hilarity.

It might seem as if all we do is sit around making fun of people who call us. That’s not true. We also send each other pictures of birds in spa clothing.

But the truth is, rehabbing can be tough, grueling work, and you get your heart broken over and over again, so whenever we get the chance to get some yuks … we take it.

Anyone have any good ones to add?

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.