Oh, do I love it when I can get somebody else to write my blog for me.

This one comes from Vonda Lee Morton, a wildlife rehabilitator who runs Laurens Wildlife Rescue outside Atlanta. She and I have never met in person, but thanks to the internet we’ve been through all kinds of wildlife emergencies together. Rehabbers have friends all over the country (sometimes all over the world) who we’ve never laid eyes on. No matter, we’re linked together and loyal to the end.

I saw Vonda’s post about taking in a Turkey Vulture and a Great Blue Heron on Facebook. Her stories and photos were so great I thought I’d share them, especially since all rehabbers can relate to the ranting part.


Vonda uses a Panasonic Lumix ZS30, which she describes as “a pocket-sized camera with a 20x optical zoom, complete with the NFC thingy that lets me send pix from it straight to my phone.” I  just recently learned how to take a photo with my ancient sliding non-iPhone (Friend: “You push this button here.” Me: “Wow!”), hence to me Vonda’s photographs verge on the magical, like those of all you camera-toting, globetrotting birders.

Pay close attention to the videos on this post, which might give the uninitiated a little window into the psyches of rehabilitators. Note that when faced with a very large carnivorous bird with a lethal-looking hooked beak, Vonda looked into his eyes and offered him her hand. Did he remove it? No; he nibbled it gently, thus eventually providing rehabbers across the country with an opportunity to simultaneously rant about the public and coo about how cute vultures are. Disclaimer: do not try this at home.

Enjoy Vonda’s fabulous post.

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.