Driving along a busy highway one overcast afternoon, a sharp-eyed driver spotted something small and dark in the middle of the road. Luckily he realized it wasn’t a leaf blowing in the wind, and pulled over to the roadside to get a better look.
As he got out of his truck, he discovered that what had caught his eye was a tiny bird! She was unable to fly, and the passing cars were buffeting her back and forth. His heart in his throat, the driver had to wait for several more vehicles to pass before it was safe for him to retrieve the bird.
Fortunately the injured bird had managed to avoid the fast-moving tires, and our brave rescuer scooped her off the road and out of danger. He brought the bird straight to the rehabilitation team at BC SPCA Wild ARC. They identified the little rescue as a Pacific Wren – one of the smallest songbirds found in the area, and a species with one of the most complex and varied songs.
It is likely that a car collision is what brought the wren to the ground in the first place. She was not alert, and her pupils did not react properly to light – key signs pointing to head trauma. However, the lucky little wren escaped her ordeal with no broken bones or other significant injuries. She received painkillers and anti-inflammatories right away to help treat her condition. Currently in care at Wild ARC, her head is feeling much better and she’s well on the road to recovery.
It can be difficult to imagine the life history of such tiny birds, but many small songbird species are remarkably long-lived. Thanks to information collected from bird banding stations over many years, we know that while the oldest recorded Pacific Wren (so far) was four years old, Barn Swallows and Anna’s Hummingbirds have reached at least eight years of age, and Purple Finches have reached an astonishing 14 years of age in the wild!
We all know that it’s not necessarily size that matters, and thanks to compassion of sharp-eyed rescuers like this one, even the littlest patients get a second chance to live their full wild lives.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.