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The Place for Chipped Beaks and Broken Wings

September 16, 2010

Growing up, my family always kept outdoor cats who would occasionally come home with a “present” (a.k.a.  a decapitated bird or rodent) for their owners.  How thoughtful of them.  Once in awhile, too, the cats would leave us a bird that still had a little bit of life in it.  My siblings and I would feel awful, and would desperately want to rescue the bird or take it to an animal clinic.  Unfortunately, the nearest avian veterinarian was about an hour’s drive away, and didn’t do charity work.  So, we just had to sigh, say a prayer for the bird, and let nature take its course.  If only we had had something like the Jain Bird Hospital nearby.

A mural of storks injured in a duel

The Jain Bird Hospital is part of the Digambar Jain Temple Complex in Old Delhi, and another item on my India To-Do List.  It sits just opposite the Red Fort, and Amrit and I had the opportunity to visit while we were sightseeing along Chandni Chowk.  This charity hospital cares for sick and injured birds – and the occasional rabbit – that are brought in from the streets.

Perhaps I still have some unresolved guilt about not being able to save some of the birds that appeared on our doorstep, but I thought the Bird Hospital was so sweet!    The staff were kind and welcoming as they ushered us up the stairs and into the two small hallways that constituted the hospital.

And a pigeon caught by a cat

The walls of the hospital had graphic, colorful murals (that I found, oddly, to be charming) depicting the various ways that birds might become injured. The cages were filled with all kinds of birds suffering from different ailments.  There were pigeons with broken wings, peacocks with patched tails, and green parrots with injured claws and beaks.

I suppose this hospital isn’t for everyone.  Some of the birds are in a more critical state than others, and some injuries may make the faint-of-heart cringe.  Still, I thought that the very principle of caring for animals out of charity justified a trip (and a donation) to the hospital.

Perching patients

My favorite section of the hospital was the parakeet section.  The parakeets were colorful, lively, and all seemed to be in good health.

A peek inside the parakeet cage

Saturday was also an especially good day to visit because the birds that have recovered are released on Saturdays, which can give visitors hope for the other patients in the hospital.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April Morris permalink
    September 17, 2010 8:56 am

    I sent this post to Mark’s daughter, Heidi, who works for PETA. She loved it~

  2. September 23, 2010 7:51 pm

    I had no idea this existed… what a wonderful idea. My kids would be enthralled — I wonder if they would be a little confused if I told them it was a “bird hospital” and they didn’t see any miniature casts and crutches on birds!

    • September 23, 2010 8:44 pm

      There actually are a few birds with miniature casts and bandages on their wings! It’s quite charming, really.

      If your kids tend to be squeamish, though, you might want to check out the bird hospital yourself before taking them there. Some of the injuries are a little more serious than others (I chose not to include photos of these) and may be upsetting for sensitive-types.

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