Bird Flies the “Coop”Posted by Wendy Cromwell, ALDF's Paralegal on April 2, 2013
I always knew I had finally landed at the best job ever here at ALDF, but this past week just confirmed it.
Last September, I bought my first house that has a beautiful backyard surrounded by large trees. Birds flocked to my home in the trees and bushes. I was so excited to finally be able to put out feeders and sit on my deck and watch the birds–finches, doves, blue jays. And, then a friend took me to a lecture on the “language of birds” and I learned to appreciate them even more.
So, when I got a call from an activist with a strange, non-believable bird story asking for help, of course I had to follow through to see if the story was true. It seems that a prisoner in a southern California facility had found a baby bird some months back and smuggled it into his prison cell, where he fed the bird on prison food. The bird thrived and became attached to the prisoner, sleeping on his chest at night. The prisoner soon learned that he was to be transferred to another facility and fearing the fate of the bird (would the guards release or would another inmate kill her?), he began reaching out to various organizations asking for help. One of the organizations called the prison and the prison denied there was any such bird.
Having worked in jails, myself, I was finding it really hard to believe the story. But, on the possibility that it could be true, I reached out to a prison ombudsman and asked him to help. Although his first reaction was similar to mine, and his second reaction was if it was true, the guards would just
release it. I reminded him, that since so many organizations had already been contacted about this bird, that would probably not be very good publicity for the prison.
As it turns out, the story was true–the bird was located and animal control was called. Animal Control picked up the bird and turned it over to a bird rehab, Project Wildlife. The little finch is thriving, doesn’t really know what to do with other finches and created a great story for all the groups involved about breaking a bird out of prison!