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Trapped baby birds rescued from netting put up at St. Pete shopping plaza

Jun 06, 2024


Kailey Tracy reports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Baby birds who were trapped under netting at a shopping plaza now have a new home.

Birds in Helping Hands Wildlife Rescue saved seven birds Wednesday afternoon that were trapped in netting in gazebos at the University Village shopping center in downtown St. Pete.

"We received about two or three calls from concerned citizens and said that the babies were trapped up there, but parents could not get in. Even though they [the netting] have these zippers, it’s too frightening for them," Shelley Vickery, the director of Birds ain Helping Hands Wildlife Rescue, said.

READ: Bats living at Tampa elementary school won’t be removed before kids head back to class

Adult House Sparrows tried to feed their babies who were trapped inside the netting from the outside of the netting. Vickery said they found at least six nests as well.

"There were babies in a nest where the parents could not reach through the netting. So, those babies are starving right now. They probably haven't eaten since they put this netting up. So, we’re going to actually have some food cooking right now for them, and we're going to feed them right away and get them hydrated, and we're going to take them to our rehab," she said.

Shoppers said workers put the netting on the gazebos Tuesday. They weren’t sure who the workers were with, but said that it most likely was done to deter the birds that frequently poop on people sitting under the gazebos.

Vickery said they’ve seen netting before, but not where the parents can't get to their babies.

MORE: 200-pound rescued walrus calf receives round-the-clock 'cuddling'

"They’re at the age where they're called fledglings. They come out of the nest. They hop on the ground. They start learning how to fly, and they're up and flying with mom and dad. But they came out of the nest, and they were on the netting, so they couldn't get down, and mom and dad were having a hard time getting to them, so they would never have made it out," she said.

The city, Publix employees and PSTA, which has a SunRunner stop right next to the gazebos, all said they didn’t put the netting up. Publix owns the shopping center.

FOX 13 reached out to its corporate office about the netting and are waiting to hear back.

Vickery said they tied up the openings in the netting in hopes it will stop other birds from getting trapped.

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By PublishedST. PETERSBURG, Fla.READ:Bats living at Tampa elementary school won’t be removed before kids head back to classMORE:200-pound rescued walrus calf receives round-the-clock 'cuddling'