The phone rings at Greenwood’s front desk. The caller has an injured bird that fell from its nest. They live in Aurora, Colorado. Can someone from Greenwood come and get it? That’s when the magic happens! Staff, rehabilitators and volunteers are quickly dispatched from our Lyons facility.
The waiting vehicle is a classic 1980’s Cadillac herse/ambulance (one resembling the “Ghostbusters” car) with a sparkling white finish and red rear tailfins. Extra-large windows line both sides of the vehicle and two rear doors open from the center for a quick entrance and exit. Red and blue lights on the top complete the look of an emergency-like vehicle. Instead of the red circle with a “No Ghosts” logo on the door, there is a drawing of a raccoon leaning in, stethoscope in its ears listening to the heart of a bird laying on a stretcher. The vehicle is loaded down with all kinds of plastic bins, various sizes of nets, food and medicine for the ride back to Lyons.
Unfortunately, this is not reality, it is only my quirky thoughts of what could happen. Greenwood Wildlife is a rehabilitation center, not a rescue organization.
Answering the calls that come into the center can be rewarding, frustrating, and sometimes downright silly. During our busy season (April-October) we receive an average of 70-calls per day, seven days a week! It isn’t unusual to get calls where front desk staff must respond quickly with nonmedical triage, reuniting baby animals with mom, grief counseling, and referrals. Most callers understand our lack of resources in transportation and bring wildlife to us from Fort Collins to Castle Rock and all points inbetween.
Many people, who are unable to make the trek to Lyons, call on co-workers, neighbors, friends, church community or family to help. Others utilize options like a local animal control or Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Yet, some innovative people make us shake our heads and wonder, “Why didn’t we think of that?” Here are two transportation solutions that show the power of inspired thinking.
A woman living and working in Boulder did not have a car. She used public transportation or her bike to get around town. When she found an injured pigeon, she could not leave it to suffer. After looking at her options, she rented a car for two hours and brought the pigeon to Greenwood where it received care and was eventually release back into the wild.
Another rescuer found an orphaned baby chipmunk on a trail near Nederland. Without transportation, she used her cell phone to call us. Since we were unable to come and get the chipmunk, she came up with a novel plan! A little over an hour later, the chipmunk arrived at Greenwood delivered by an Uber driver smiling from ear-to-ear. Bet that’s one delivery he’ll never forget!
Until the day Greenwood has a fleet of vehicles at the ready to pick up orphaned, sick or injured wildlife, we have to ask rescuers to think of other transport options. Your Colorado wildlife and Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center are grateful for your efforts.