Illegal birds rescued from ‘fowl’ situation near Queens high school


Five birds were rescued from a residence in Queens, where they lived in freezing conditions. (Credit: LION/NYCLASS)

FOREST HILLS, Queens — A Long Island rescue organization saved five birds that were illegally kept in a Forest Hills home, surviving only on a diet of stale bread and moldy bagels.

Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, a waterfowl rescue, and the New York City-based animal advocacy organization New Yorkers for Clean Liveable and Safe Streets coordinated the effort that led to the surrender of an Embden goose and four Muscovy ducks.

LION said the animals recovered are now at a Riverhead shelter and being treated for wing deformities and staph infections. Still, more than two dozen birds remain in the home without shelter, despite a dangerous dip in temperatures in the city.

Neighbors initially contacted both 311 and the NYPD for months, LION said, even reporting that ducks were found frozen to death previously.

“Animals, whether dogs or ducks, feel pain and suffer just like we do,” anthrozoologist and LION President John Di Leonardo said. “If we’re cold, their cold.”

LION said the goose is suffering from a severe wing deformity due to malnutrition. All of the rescued birds are suffering from a deadly staph infection as well.

The rescued birds cannot be released back into the wild, and will be placed at “reputable homes and sanctuaries where they will be loved and never eaten,” according to LION.

“I was horrified … to see dozens of ducks and a goose in poor physical condition suffering outside of a home in Queens in sub-freezing temperatures,” NYCLASS Executive Director Edita Birnkrant said. “This situation highlights the need for NYC Council to pass Code Blue legislation prohibiting NYC residents from keeping animals outside in sub-freezing temperatures.” 

The birds are illegal to own in New York City.

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