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24H Bird Diner

Eat, poop. Eat, poop. Eat, poop.

That’s the life of a baby bird. It’s a simple routine, but one that keeps the volunteers at the makeshift wildlife hospital at Sharon Audubon, in northwest Connecticut, on their toes. From sunrise to sundown, they cycle through hundreds of begging mouths, delivering freshly prepared meals such as dog-food-and-mealworm mush, hacked-up fruit salad, and whole, thawed-out mice. Between feedings they squeeze in other chores: mopping up excrement, wiping down cages, and running endless loads of laundry. It’s a hugely messy, largely thankless job, but the 26 dedicated volunteers are hooked. “This is my happy place,” says Vicki Lynch, a dental hygienist who’s been moonlighting as a mama bird for half a decade now.

Read more on Text by Purbita Saha.

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