Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn treats hundreds of injured birds


GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (CBS) — Morning Insiders followed volunteers on their hunt injured birds a few weeks ago and watched them place the injured animals in paper bags to calm them before transport.

We wondered: what happens to bagged birds?

CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra shows us post-rescue rehab.

“It’s great to see them coming out of the bag,” said Dr Sarah Reich, after releasing a warbler in her care into the wild.

The veterinarian and her team at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn treat all kinds of sick animals. Especially during the migration seasons in the fall and spring, the bird nursery is busy.

“He’s trying to stand up but he’s using his wings for balance,” said Dr Reich, pointing to a piper with spinal cord injury.

Separately during our interview, she talked generally about eating birds right now.

“The majority of them will be collisions with windows or buildings,” she said.

Many of the people in the care of his team in DuPage County crashed into downtown skyscrapers.

Chicago Bird Collision Monitors volunteers try to give them a second chance. A few weeks ago, CBS 2 followed their light shirts as they searched for deceased samples to go for research. The living head for rehabilitation. A member of the group delivers a batch of injured people to the Wildlife Center every day.

“The number of migratory birds that we take from them [Chicago Bird Collision Monitors] is at least a few thousand [a year]“, said Dr. Reich.

Just over 50% of the birds brought in by downtown volunteers can be released after treatment.

“They get a lot of eye trauma, bleeding, corneal ulcers, things like that. We see a lot of broken bones and injuries and things, so really a big assortment of issues, but probably the biggest one is head trauma,” said Dr. Reich.

Switching to a flight cage is the next step after medication. It could take days, weeks or even months to heal, keeping staff so busy that responding to rescues is not an option. This makes the partnership with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors so valuable.

“They are saving thousands of lives just by bringing in these animals,” Dr. Reich said.

The problem of birds striking buildings isn’t going away, but one thing is changing for the better: Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

A new facility in Glen Ellyn is under construction and is expected to open in 2024.

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The veterinarian and her team at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn treat all kinds of sick animals. Especially during the migration seasons in the fall and spring, the bird nursery is busy. A new facility in Glen Ellyn is under construction and is expected to open in 2024.

Wight & Company


Vets say the larger space will allow them to treat injured birds with more detailed care depending on their specific species.

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The veterinarian and her team at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn treat all kinds of sick animals. Especially during the migration seasons in the fall and spring, the bird nursery is busy. A new facility in Glen Ellyn is under construction and is expected to open in 2024.

Wight & Company



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