Ogden • A wildlife rescue in northern Utah is commending a man who found a creative way to rescue an abandoned baby bird.
Staff at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah say they received a call last weekend from a man who “had a few too many” alcoholic drinks but discovered a baby lesser goldfinch struggling on the ground after falling from a tree.
About an hour later the bird arrived at the center by itself in an Uber. Staff later learned that the man had called the car as he had been drinking and did not want to drive.
Center director Dalyn Marthaler says the bird, who they nicknamed “Petey,” was thin and dehydrated when he arrived. He says the bird should be released into the Utah wilderness in a few weeks.
The Uber driver, Chrisy Guynn, told FOX 13 that when she arrived at the pickup location, four men explained why they called and told her to take the bird since they couldn’t.
“I just gave this little guy a ride from Sunset — first passenger I’ve ever had that chirps and doesn’t talk," she said. “It [was] his first Uber ride — and probably his only Uber ride.”
One of the men who called for the Uber told FOX 13 that he and friends were “having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky.”
When they called the rehabilitation center, they told him they could nurse the bird back to health — if they could get the bird to them.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” said Tim Crowley. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
Crowley said the first Uber driver canceled the ride once learning what was being asked. But Guynn agreed.
“If you’re paying for it, I’m all for it,” she said.
The men who called for the ride had placed the bird in a box and padded it with leaves. Guynn said she turned off the air conditioning to make it more comfortable for the bird. Then she drove it 25 minutes to the center.
“He wasn’t rowdy — he just wanted to eat,” she told FOX 13. "The only noise was the chirping. I guess he was happy when I turned off the air conditioning off and rolled the windows down a little bit. I definitely think it was a little too cold for him.”
Buz Marthaler, the rehab center’s co-founder and chairman, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday that Petey is improving significantly.
“He’s a great little eater, like all finches; even when they are stuffed literally to the 'gills’ they ask for more. He was placed with a ‘buddy’ about his/her same age when he arrived and both are doing well.”
Marthaler said the center hopes Petey will be really to be released in about a month.
Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune and FOX 13 are content-sharing partners.