All posts tagged: Wild Bird Fund

Free Bird: Learning to Work with Wild Animals

Ben the Bird at the Wild Bird Fund (Photo courtesy Lauren Oster) My voice goes singsong, as though I’m speaking to a baby or a small dog: “BEN, MY SWEETHEART!” With a series of high-pitched chirps like sneakers on linoleum, an apple-red cardinal swoops down and lands on my shoulder. He sidesteps over to my ear, gives it a quick nip with his beak and starts trying to pull out my earring. This is unquestionably the high point of my week. About a year ago, I was surfing around the cute-photo Internet and stumbled into a gallery of birthday parties for zoo animals — a weird, marvelous corner of the web where Komodo dragons are presented with frozen meat-cakes festooned with dead rats and elephants trumpet over dessert-shaped towers of vegetables. The zoo websites explained that the cakes were enrichment objects. Exotic animals and craft projects are some of my favorite things on this earth; why, I thought, I should make those cakes! I burrito-wrapped a swan in a beach towel and felt him stamp …