The California Wildlife Center recently rescued a mockingbird who was born with malformed, knuckling feet.
The knuckling, which could have been congenital or a growth deformity, meant the bird could not perch on trees or walk like other birds. Birds with the condition eventually develop sores on their feet. If left untreated in the wild, birds with this condition will “likely perish,” Jennifer Brent, the executive director at the CWC, told us.
The center gets about 5 to 10 cases like this a year.
So, a team of veterinarians used teeny tiny pieces of cardboard to create a pair of teeny tiny custom snowshoes for the bird. The results are a stylish departure from snowshoes that would make Canadians jealous.
The design is to help “reset” the alignment of the feet.
Brent said the team outfitted the bird with the snowshoes for a week until it was able to “walk normally” and “do normal bird things” again.
Our little bird friend has since graduated from the shoes and was released back in the wild, where it’s able to properly bird again.
“It’s gratifying that such an easy fix here can change an animal’s life,” one of the vets, Dr. Lorraine Barbosaw, said.