愛管「鳥事」的野鳥急救站

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1993 / 7月

文‧滕淑芬 圖‧張良綱


住家附近樹上突然有鳥巢被風吹落、在郊外看到一隻無力飛行的鳥兒,你知道怎麼辦嗎?你知道那兒有「鳥醫院」嗎?

別急,先打個電話給「野鳥急救站」,自有愛管「鳥事」的人,替鳥兒提供急診服務。


「小朋友,你們看這隻領角鴞的眼睛和一般小鳥的有什麼不同呢?」獸醫林世賢對著二百四十多名小學生說:「對了,鳥的眼睛在不同平面上,而領角鴞的眼睛和你們的眼睛一樣,是在同一個平面上……」

一個月前,彰化市民黃先生星期天到住家附近的快官國小運動,看到小朋友在玩弄由樹上落下的領角鴞巢,其中有一隻鳥兒已經死了,他立刻將另一隻送到彰化野鳥學會鳥友林世賢的獸醫院。鳥兒剛來時羽毛未豐、體力衰弱,林世賢先以鳥類專用的維他命灌食,再餵它各種肉食。

適時機會教育

經過一個月的飼養,這隻只有三個月大的鳥兒,成為彰化野鳥學會的「寵兒」,人見人愛,牠也有了個名字叫「唧」。聽到鳥友的呼喚,它會將頭轉個三百六十度,憨氣地瞧著你。

這天,出了個大太陽,快官國小的小朋友集合在校園的竹林外圍,觀看領角鴞野放的情形,一旁站著獸醫師林世賢和學校老師。小朋友看到身體蓬鬆、一雙大眼睛的領角鴞,也和一群鳥兒一般,吱吱喳喳。

「五分鐘之內不要有任何聲音」,大人說話了。

小朋友雖壓低聲音,還是掩不住湊過去細看的衝動,校長又忍不住囑咐:「領角鴞是我們的鄰居,小朋友不要去干擾牠;等放生完再歡呼,大家不要出聲。」領角鴞站在竹林上還沒五分鐘,突然來了一陣大雨,校長趕緊讓同學回到教室。也許因為周圍人太多,加上領角鶚是夜行性鳥類,第一次野放並沒有成功。

晚上九點,林醫師靜悄悄地又來試放一次,領角鴞終於飛離去。「總算了了一樁心願!」林醫師喘了一口氣。

先問鳥事

六月初,梅雨季剛開始,台北縣觀音山上,有多年賞鳥經驗的鳥友林文宏、江明亮已經在附近觀察一窩鷹巢一個多月。連續幾天大雨後,他們再上山,發覺母鳥不在巢裡,並有四個蛋掉落在地,其中兩個蛋已經破掉。他們立刻將另外兩顆蛋帶下山,交由獸醫師祁偉廉以人工方式孵化,成功育出了兩隻台灣松雀鷹。

由於鳥類在出生這段時間,對餵食者有「印象期」,也就是「誰餵它,誰就是牠媽媽」,眾鳥友為了日後能順利讓他們回到野外生活,不希望它們過於依賴人為環境,兩隻松雀鷹不久就被送往國家公園。

近年來,國內賞鳥活動蔚為風氣,賞鳥人口普遍增加。以保護野生鳥類為宗旨的野鳥學會鳥友,在野外進行鳥類調查、繫放工作,經常發現因為鳥巢掉落等原因受傷、生病的野鳥。許多熱心人士遇有類似情形,也會將傷鳥送到鳥會請他們處理,在紀錄上就有從新竹、宜蘭、阿里山……,各地送來台北的傷鳥。

在因人為開發造成自然環境面積愈來愈小,野生動物逐漸成為生活環境中的「弱勢團體」,野鳥學會許多會員深感,應該對受傷的野鳥施予援手。他們的想法是,希望能經由鳥會裡的獸醫師,為鳥類做有效的救護程序,讓野鳥順利重返自然。於是,去年台北、彰化野鳥學會先後成立急救站,不少愛鳥人得知有這麼一個管道後,看到路邊或居家附近有傷鳥,就知道往這裡送。

最怕救護站鳥滿為患

目前急救站裡,主要由台北的祁偉廉和彰化的林世賢兩位「主治醫師」坐鎮。他倆湊巧還是屏東農專獸醫科的同班同學。兩人都因為賞鳥而投入救傷工作。如今救傷中心也以兩人的獸醫院為醫療所,醫療後的修養復健期,再分散給熱心鳥友或動物園收容。

意外的是,除了收到的鳥種五花八門,鳥類受傷的原因也頗令鳥友驚心。

至今,台北野鳥救傷中心已收到一百八十八筆救傷紀錄。

分析其中原因,因人為疏失傷及鳥的比例佔百分之卅九,包括被獸夾夾傷。汽車撞傷、BB彈打傷、和飼養不當等原因。

三、四月份正是本土留鳥的繁殖季,也是候鳥的過境期,忙著繁衍下一代的鳥兒在這個時候最脆弱,很多鳥販與捕鳥人也在這個時候設置陷阱,捕捉野鳥。

台北站的救傷紀錄上,被獸夾夾傷的鳥種就有台灣藍鵲、夜鷺、大冠鷺、鳳頭蒼鷹等。而被陷阱捕獲的鳥兒即使送來急救,也難逃一命嗚呼的厄運。

救傷中心更怕的是許多人跟流行,看到公園裡有人遛鸚鵡、畫眉鳥歌唱比賽,或別人肩膀上站著一隻猛禽,覺得神氣威風,也起而仿效。幾年前很多人趕在「野生動物保育法」實施前,買了老鷹以便登記飼養,現在發現養鷹非常麻煩,也沒有想像中地好玩,於是把一些養得滿身是病,或傷痕累累的鷹丟出來。

許多人只因一時好奇,並不願意真正對所養的鳥付出愛心,「養不好就往垃圾堆丟」,在任內推動野鳥救傷中心的野鳥學會前任理事長王季新感慨地說。

有人買,就有人賣,因而形成了賣鳥市場。鳥友常常在市場上看到鳥販賣鳥,心中著實掙扎了好久。買下來擔心鳥販認為有市場,更「賣力」地捉鳥;置之不理,又怕他們飼養不當虐待鳥。台北救傷中心最近收容了一隻鳳頭蒼鷹,就是一位愛鳥人假日看到鳥販兜售幼鷹,忍不住買了下來交給救傷中心飼育。

天敵加人敵

麻雀、白頭翁和綠繡眼被稱之為「都市三寶」,有牠們蹤影的城市,表示這個地方還適合人居住。只不過在人為開發,人工設施林立的都市裡,常常讓鳥有不知該往哪飛才對的困惑。人類的環境是為人類居住而設計的,有些鳥沒看清楚,因人為建築構造而受傷或死亡,這算是鳥的疏失,還是人的不周到呢?

救傷紀錄上就有過一隻黃眉柳鶯撞上國小教室玻璃窗而傷重死亡的紀錄;淡水有個廣播電台的發射台,電台超強頻率發音時,一隻紅隼不慎被高壓電擊燒傷雙腿。

對於鳥撞上玻璃的例子,獸醫師祁偉廉認為還是有兩全其美的辦法。他建議學校將老鷹剪影貼在玻璃上,這麼一來,小鳥就會「敬玻璃而遠之」了。

鳥類受傷不光是人為造成的,島被牠們的天敵——貓、狗追逐,或者因為食物來源太單一化、先天發育不足,造成鳥隻抵禦自然的能力較差而受傷等自然原因,也佔台北救傷中心收容傷鳥的百分之十六。另外,碰到颱風季、大雨來襲時,雛鳥落巢的比例佔百分之九.五。救傷中心好幾個成功案例都是因為人類即時伸出援手,才挽回雛鳥稚弱的生命。

就在快官國小準備野放領角鴞的同一天,一個只有拳頭大小的綠繡眼鳥巢剛巧從樹上落下,被學生拾起送到保健室。林醫師看了一看,裡頭有一隻幼鳥已經奄奄一息,另兩隻伸出了脖子——敢情是餓壞了?!於是先以麵包蟲餵食。

樹旁傳來綠繡眼發出的叫聲,原來母鳥、公鳥正忙著尋找自己的寶貝呢!林醫師拿來爬梯,將鳥巢放回樹上,並囑咐學校老師觀察幾天,看看鳥巢是否穩固。

從不知道餵鳥吃什麼開始

由於過去並沒有累積野鳥救傷的經驗與資料,台北急救站所救的鳥中,死亡率達百分之四十七。更何況台灣本島的過境候鳥加上本土留鳥,有四百多種之多。累積資料,需要更多人力投入,而這也是救傷中心面臨的最大困境。

從「不能餵鳥吃西瓜,可以餵木瓜」(因為鳥和人一樣會拉肚子),到「猛禽爪子受傷,不能綁紗布」(因為牠會啄,應該把藥塗在牠站立的木棍上)……,點點滴滴的資訊,就這樣臨床加上醫學理論地慢慢累積出來。

台北、彰化急救站在成立了一年之後,都面臨傷鳥收容的困難。台北鳥會在新店山區、烏來還有收容中心;彰化急救站就只能靠林世賢四處求爺爺、告奶奶,依賴自己的人脈,請人幫忙。

目前在台北收容中心的傷鳥,幾乎都已經無法自行在大自然生存。一隻被獵槍打傷了翅膀、原本生活在太魯閣國家公園的大冠鷲,從此可能再也看不到原棲息地的青山綠水了。

「對不能飛翔的鳥來說,活著也是個痛苦,把牠關在籠子裡,對牠們算是仁慈嗎?」經常為急救站救治猛禽的獸醫師張中夫提出他的質疑。看到送來的鳥兒死亡,急救站人員只感到人的渺小。「有一度非常沮喪、甚至懷疑自己能力」,林世賢無助地說。

能不能救?該不該救?

而在目前對鳥類知識尚不完全時,救援行動有時候會對鳥造成二度傷害。

鳥受傷已經受到驚嚇,情緒緊張;再加上由大環境進入鳥籠的小環境,如果對牠吃什麼、如何餵食的方法掌握不足,可能會加速鳥的死亡。即使復元,在野放之前還得訓練鳥兒日後在野外覓食、求生、甚至躲避人類的本事。譬如林世賢最近野放的領角鴞,鳥友就擔心這隻未經訓練的鳥,日後看到人類,可能以為遇到「救命恩人」而誤入捕鳥者手中。

不管什麼原因造成鳥受傷,野鳥學會非常瞭解救傷工作其實只是「有限制、有瑕疵地參與自然救濟」,王季新認為這是在大環境被破壞下對自然的一種彌補。

從事鳥類調查的人發現,鳥類可以說是生態資源變化的指標。每當有一種鳥類絕跡時,同時會有九十種昆蟲、卅五種植物,和兩三種魚類消失;當有兩種鳥絕跡時,同時會有一種哺乳動物消失。

「都市人不買、不養,野外沒有被破壞,減少第一層鳥患的來源,對大自然就有幫助」,這也是鳥友與鳥類學者們的最大期望。

上個月初,彰化一名卡車司機在彰濱工業區覆土時,救出五隻小燕鷗和十餘顆東方環頸R鳥蛋,送到林世賢的獸醫院,林世賢記得這位司機打電話來時,特別交待他:「不能叫警察捉我喔!」

彰化縣政府得知彰濱工業區內有正在孵育的鳥蛋後,希望施工單位暫時停止施工。「其實我們不希望、也不會要求工程停止」,土生土長的彰化人林世賢解釋,但在彰濱工業區二千公頃的施工範圍,人們是不是可以先避開鳥類繁殖地點,或為鳥類留一小塊淨土?「這是對生命起碼應該有的尊重」,他說。

讓天空的屬於天空

「我們當然儘量不干涉自然的事,也希望鳥不要落入人手,但如果不幸落入人手,也要盡力讓牠們活下來」,祁偉廉的看法是,能救就救,不能救,就提供給研究單位作研究,算是善盡剩餘價值吧。

利用剩餘價值的說法好像很殘酷,但就目前救傷還在摸索的階段而言,「前面的不成功,可以做為後面傷鳥救治的參考」,王季新說,累積經驗,才可能提高救治率,這也正是救傷必需持續下去的理由。

至今,台北救傷紀錄的「業務量」仍持續增加,但這可不是救傷人員期望看到的。急救站人員心中所想的都是,最好都沒有鳥能救,讓屬於天空的歸於天空。

〔圖片說明〕

P.77

「小朋友,領角鴞是我們的鄰居,千萬不要去干擾牠」,林世賢獸師準備要將牠野放時,就帶牠回原來撿到的地方,並對小朋友來個機會教肓。

P.76

(左)我是隻小小鳥,要飛就飛,要叫就叫。小鳥生來就應享有這樣的自由,不是嗎?

P.78

這隻媽媽已失蹤的台灣松雀應剛孵出來只有七天,必須用母鳥標本啄食餵牠,否則牠會以為人是牠的媽媽。

P.79

雛鳥在急救站暫時住幾天,祁醫師每天的例行工作就是為牠量體重、嘴長、腳長等。

P.80

台灣特有亞種台灣藍鵲,普遍分佈在中低海拔森林地帶,如今數量也愈來愈少。(劉燕明攝)

P.82

送到急救站的鳥,如果傷勢太重或受到驚嚇,死亡比率也不低。這樣的鳥多半製為標本。

P.83

以往架設鳥網捕捉鳥的行為,現在則成違法,警察會取締。(郭智勇攝)

P.83

在台北收容中心的傷鷹,可能已無法再見到青山綠水了。(倪淑雲攝)

P.84

根據大自然的設計,人和鳥應該是可以和平相處的。圖為牛背鷺。(郭智勇攝)

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近期文章

EN

Where Medical Care is Strictly for the Birds

Teng Sue-feng /photos courtesy of Vincent Chang /tr. by Phil Newell

If the wind suddenly blows a bird's nest down from a tree near your house and you see a little baby bird struggling helplessly, do you know what you should do? Do you know that there is a "bird hospital"?


Don't panic. First call the Wild Bird Rescue Station, where there are people who will provide emergency medical care to the bird.

"Little friends, what do you see that's different about the eyes of this collared Scops owl from the eyes of ordinary birds?" asks veterinarian Lin Shih-hsien of more than 240 primary school students. "That's right. Birds' eyes are normally on two different planes, but the eyes of this owl are like yours--on a single plane...."

A chance for an education:

One month ago, a certain Mister Huang, a resident of Changhua City, went to the local Kuaikuan Primary School to get in some exercises. He saw a small child playing with a collared Scops nest that had fallen to the ground. One of the little birds in the nest was already dead, but he was able to get the other to Dr. Lin Shih-hsien, a veterinarian and member of the Changhua Wild Bird Society. When the bird first arrived it had still not fully developed feathers, and it was very weak. Dr. Lin fed it with vitamins designed specially for birds and also fed it all kinds of meat.

After a month of nursing, this little fledgling of only three months became the "pet" of the Society. Everyone who saw it loved it, and it even had a name: "Chirp." Upon hearing the calls of his bird-loving friends, it would turn his head around 360 degrees and look at them with an innocent expression.

On this day, the sun is very intense. The students of the Kuaikuan Primary School have collected at the outskirts of the bamboo grove on the campus, to watch the release of the owl. To one side stands Lin Shih-hsien and the teachers and pupils of the school, watching the ruffled, wide-eyed little avian hooting away like any other bird.

"Don't make a sound for five minutes," an adult says.

Though the children try to muffle their voices, they can't help but get excited at being this close, until the principal finally commands, "This owl is our neighbor. Children should not disturb it anymore. When it goes back to nature then we can celebrate, but don't move at it aggressively." The owl had been standing in the bamboo wood for less than five minutes when a heavy downpour suddenly hit, and the principal moved quickly to get the students back into the school building, and the bird had to be taken back to the shelter. Perhaps because there were too many people around, or because the owl is a nocturnal animal, the first release was not very successful. At 9:00 p.m., Dr. Lin quietly returned to try again to release the bird. The owl finally flew away. "Let's just consider it the fulfillment of a wish," says the vet with a sigh of relief.

Bird talk:

At the beginning of June, when the summer rains had just begun, veteran bird watchers Lin Wen-hung and Chiang Ming-liang had already been watching a hawk's nest on Kuanyin Mountain in Taipei County for more than a month. After several days of continuous rain, they again went up the mountain and discovered that the hawks were no longer at the nest, and that there were four eggs on the ground. Of these two had already broken open. They immediately carried the other two down and turned them over to doctor Chi Wei-lien for artificial incubation. The result was the successful birth of two little Taiwan lesser sparrow hawks.

Because in this period after birth the little birds assume that "whoever feeds me must be Mom," birdlovers don't want the creatures to become overly dependent on people so that they can adapt better to the wilderness when they are released in the future. So not long thereafter the two hawks were sent to a national park.

In recent years, there has been an explosion in bird-watching activities on Taiwan, with consistent growth in the bird-watching population. The Wild Bird Society, which takes protecting wild birds as its chief aim, has done bird surveys as well as bird banding. They often find birds felled by injury or illness. Many enthusiasts have sent these birds to the Society to handle. Records show that injured birds have been sent to Taipei from Hsinchu, Ilan, and Alishan.

Because of human development, the space left for nature is decreasing. Wild animals have suddenly become a "disadvantaged group." Many members of the Wild Bird Society feel that they should lend a helping hand to injured birds. They hope that veterinarians in the association who are experienced in caring for birds will undertake effective rescue procedures so that the birds can return to their natural environment. Thus last year both the Taipei and Changhua associations established bird rescue stations. As this channel is becoming known to bird lovers, people who find a winged friend by the road or near their home now know which direction to go in.

Fear of being too "successful":

At present the two stations are headed up by Dr. Chi in Taipei and Dr. Lin in Changhua. The two happen to be old classmates from the Pingtung Veterinary College. Both have devoted themselves to rescue work because of their fondness for bird observation. Currently the two men's offices are used as the medical stations for the bird rescue operations. After treatment, the birds are then turned over to bird enthusiasts or zoos for rehabilitation and care.

Unexpectedly, besides having received a dazzling variety of birds, the most surprising thing has been the reasons for the birds' injuries.

Thus far the Taipei Wild Bird Treatment Center has had 188 recorded cases in less than half a year.

When you analyze the reasons why, 39 percent are because of human action leading to injuries of the birds. These include cases of trapping, being hit by cars, BB gun wounds, and feeding of inappropriate foods.

March and April is the reproductive season for resident birds, and it is also the high season for migratory birds to pass through. Birds working hard to produce the next generation are at their weakest at his time, and many bird hunters and peddlers take this chance to put out their nets to capture wild birds.

In the records of the Taipei center, many different types of birds have been injured in traps. But even if trapped birds are sent to the hospital, there is little chance they can be saved.

What most worries the rescue centers are that many people will see the bird singing competitions in public parks, or see someone with a bird of prey perched on their shoulder and think that it looks cool, and then rush out and copy these things. Several years ago, before the passage of the "Wildlife Conservation Law," many people bought hawks to raise in captivity. But they found that raising a bird is very difficult, and not as much fun as they thought, so many of the birds were just thrown out wracked with illness or suffering multiple injuries.

Many people just get into it as a matter of curiosity, and have no real intention to devote themselves to caring for the birds. "If they can't raise it well they just throw it into the garbage," says an agitated Wan Chi-hsin, a former director of the Wild Bird Society, who promoted the rescue center idea.

Some people buy, some people sell, creating a market in birds. Bird lovers feel in quite a dilemma when they see the bird peddlers. If they buy the birds they are worried that the sellers will be convinced the market is good and work even harder to trap the creatures. If they take no heed, they fear the peddlers will mistreat or inappropriately raise the animals. The Taipei Rescue Center recently accepted a chick purchased by a bird lover who saw a peddler selling it and couldn't stand it, so bought it and turned it over to the center.

Natural and unnatural enemies:

Sparrows, bulbuls, and Japanese white-eyes have become known as the "three treasures of the city." If these three can still be found around, it means the city is still a suitable living environment for people. But with human development, amidst the manmade forests of concrete and steel, birds often have the problem of not knowing where to go next. Human environments are built for people to inhabit, but some birds can't see or think clearly enough, and are killed or injured because of structures. Is this the birds' problem? Or a human failing?

One case at the center was of a yellow-browed warbler that crashed into the glass pane at a primary school and died of severe injuries. One broadcasting station in Tamshui fried the legs on a little fellow that had not been careful enough and touched an electrical wire when the station was doing high frequency broadcasting.

As for cases of birds flying into glass, Dr. Chi feels there is an easy solution: He suggests that schools paste cutouts of hawks on windows, so that smaller birds will keep a respectful distance.

Injuries to wild birds are not all caused by man. There are other reasons, such as injuries caused by the birds' natural enemies like cats and dogs, or birds that are hurt because of poor nutrition from a static diet. These account for 16% of the cases at the rescue center. Further, incidents of bird nests with chicks falling due to heavy rains or typhoons take up 9.5%. Many successful cases at the rescue centers are because people extended helping hands; only then was it possible to save the fledglings.

On the same day as they were preparing to release the owl at the Kuaikuan Primary School, a Japanese white-eye nest only about as big as a fist happened to fall out of a tree; the nest was picked up by a student and sent to the health center. Dr. Lin had a look at it. Though one of the little fellows had breathed his last, the other two were sticking their necks upwards looking for something to eat; they were first fed with insects.

The call of the Japanese white-eye was heard by the side of the tree. It turns out that the parents were both out looking for their offspring. Dr. Lin took out a stepladder and replaced the nest in the tree, and instructed the students and teachers to observe it for several days to make sure it was up there stably.

Starting from ignorance:

Because there were no case histories kept for reference, the death rate among the creatures treated at the Taipei rescue station is as high as 47%. What's more, there are more than 400 different varieties of birds if you add up all the resident and migratory types in Taiwan. It requires much more manpower to accumulate data, which is the biggest problem faced by the rescue stations.

Little bits of information are constantly being collected on clinical treatment, including things like "you cannot feed birds watermelon, only papaya" (because, like people, birds get diarrhea) and "don't wrap the injured claw of a bird of prey in cloth" (because the bird will chew the cloth; the correct method is to apply the medication to the perch) ....

After a year, both the Taipei and Changhua stations are facing problems accepting birds. The Taipei Bird Association has its own shelters in the mountains near Hsintien and in Wulai; the Changhua station can only rely on word of mouth and its own people.

Virtually all the birds currently in the Taipei shelter are unable to survive in the wild. One avian resident of Taroko National Park which was injured in the wing by a hunter will perhaps never see the verdant hills where it lived again.

"For birds that are unable to fly, life is painful. Is it really charitable to keep them in a little cage?" wonders Dr. Chang Chung-fu, who often helps treat birds of prey at the rescue station. When they see the little creatures die, the workers at the center can only be saddened at the limits to man's powers. "For a while I was very depressed, and even began to doubt my own abilities," says Lin Shih-hsien.

To save or not to save:

Today, when knowledge about birds is far less than perfect, actions to save birds can actually inflict a second in jury. Injured birds have already been startled, and are anxious and nervous. Add to this the journey from the great outdoors to the confines of a cage, and if feeding and care are not done exactly right, this could hasten the bird's death. Even if the bird can be restored to normal health, it is still necessary to train it to find food and survive in the wild, or even how to hide from people. For example, some birdlovers fear that the owl that Dr. Lin recently released has not been retrained, and may unwittingly walk right into a bird trapper's hands because it sees people as benefactors.

Whatever the reasons for injuries, the Wild Bird Society is fully aware that its medical care is a "limited, flawed participation in rescuing nature." Wang Chi-hsin sees this as a bit of compensation for all the damage done to the environment.

Surveys have discovered that birds could be seen as indicators of changes in the natural environment. Each time a particular kind of bird disappears, at the same time ninety different types of insects, 35 types of plants, and two or three species of fish disappear. And for every two birds that go extinct, one mammal disappears.

"If urbanites do not buy or raise birds, and if there is no destruction of the wild, this will eliminate the first source of harm to birds, and will be of help to nature as a whole." This is the greatest hope of ornithologists and ornithophiles.

At the beginning of last month, a Changhua truck driver working in the Changpin Industrial Park rescued five little terns and more than ten Kentish plover eggs, and sent them to Dr. Lin's hospital. Lin recalls that when the driver called him up, he especially pleaded, "Don't call the cops on me!"

After the Changhua County government learned that there were incubating eggs in the industrial zone, it hoped the construction unit would temporarily halt work. "In fact we don't want, and wouldn't ask, that construction be stopped," explains Changhua-born-and-bred Lin Shih-hsien, but couldn't people leave some space for the birds for a reproductive zone out of the more than 2000 hectares of the industrial area? "This is at least a sign of respect for living things" he says.

Reach for the sky:

"Of course we interfere with natural events as little as possible, and hope that birds will not fall into people's hands. But if they are unlucky enough to do so, we must do all we can to keep them alive," is Dr. Chi's view. Save them if they can be saved, but if they cannot--provide them for research. This is the best way to gain residual value.

Perhaps the term "residual value" sounds a bit harsh, but at present treatment is still in a trial-and error stage. "If those who come first are not successful, perhaps we will learn enough to save the birds that come later," says Wang. This is the reason the work of rescuing and treating the birds must go on.

The number of cases at the Taipei center has continually showed a "significant increase in business." But this is not what bird rescuers are hoping for. The hope in the hearts of all those at the stations is that there are no birds that need be saved, and what belongs to the sky remains in the sky.

[Picture Caption]

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"Little friends, the owl is our neighbor, so don't disturb it." When Dr. Lin Shih- hsien was preparing to release it, he brought it back to the place it was originally found to give the children a learning experience.

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(left) "I'm a little bird--I fly when I feel like flying, and sing when I feel like singing." Shouldn't birds naturally be entitled to this kind of freedom?

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This Taiwan sparrow hawk was born only seven days previously. It was necessary to feed it with a specimen of a mother hawk, or it would assume that a human was Mom.

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For chicks who spend a few days at the shelter, Dr. Chi's routine tasks are to weigh them and measure their beaks and body lengths.

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The Swinhoe's blue pheasant, a species unique to Taiwan, is spread throughout middle-to low-altitude forests; today the numbers are dwindling. (photo by Liu Yen-ming)

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Birds sent to the emergency rescue station have a high death rate if their injuries are serious or they have been badly frightened. These birds often become scientific specimens.

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The practice of setting up nets to trap birds has been made illegal; nets will be removed by the police. (photo by Kuo Chih-yung)

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Injured birds accepted at the Taipei shelter will perhaps never again be able to survive in the wild blue yonder. (photo by Ni Shu-yun)

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According to nature's design, people and birds should be able to peacefully coexist. (photo by Kuo Chih-yung)

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