On a Wing & a Prayer: Pat Knight & the Songbirds of Northern Indiana organization

By+Rosemary Barnes

Has your cat or dog ever caught and injured a bird in your backyard and you feel responsible for helping it? Or, have your children ever found a baby bird on the ground after a thunderstorm knocked the bird out of its nest? A little heartbroken face is looking up at you asking “Mommy, what can we do?” Worse yet, you don’t know what to do.

Patricia Knight, President of Songbirds of Northern Indiana, Inc. has dedicated the past 20 years of her life to the mission of returning songbirds to their natural habitat, thereby helping the ecological system as well as healing hearts. She has documented the care of approximately 150-200 birds per year, with an impressive 80 percent release rate. Care includes mending broken wings, medicating with antibiotics, hourly feedings, and putting baby birds in incubators. She also treats birds who have encounters with predators, such as cats or other wildlife; birds with head injuries, and those hit by moving vehicles. She operates under the auspices of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, but is not funded by that agency.

Funding Her Mission

To foster her mission, and to raise funds to help pay for the food and care of her patients, Songbirds of Northern Indiana accepts donations for care; offers sponsorships, and issues a monthly newsletter to those who sign up for varying levels of monetary donations. Pat also encourages invitations to speak about the organization. And, she has a powerful, heartwarming story to tell, delivered with great humor.

Pat’s property, on the banks of the Yellow River in Plymouth, includes an aviary that  is used as a training ground for release back to natural habitats. Once a bird has recovered, it still may need to be handfed, and needs to be retrained on foraging and flying. While the bird is “getting its wings,” Pat makes sure the area is safe and sound. Amazingly, other birds come to help and provide training. 

Help with Her Dream

Her dream is to add a small “clinical type” building with an observation window and to train others in the care of the birds. The problem is that often her efforts are not rewarded monetarily in proportion to the increasing number of birds she treats.  The more the word of her mission spreads, her patients become more plentiful and she is unable to reach her goal.

 

WALK SO BIRDS CAN FLY FUNDRAISER

Pat Knight’s story is a remarkable one - not only for the ecological work she is doing to save bird species, but the incredible nurturing she gives each injured bird. That’s why Life Events Media will be helping Songbirds of Northern Indiana with fund raising efforts, beginning with a walk in Centennial Park in Plymouth on June 15, 2013.  To learn more about “Walk So Birds Can Fly”, and to find out how you can get involved, visit walksobirdscanfly.org.







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