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Cute Bird Hitching A Ride On Your Car? Here's Who To Call

By Kelly Bauer | April 14, 2017 10:06am

DOWNTOWN — A cute bird caught the sites of Downtown Chicago in a video now going viral.

The video was shared by the man in April 2016 but it's only now that it's gained a massive amount of attention, with one post on Facebook garnering more than 8.5 million views. It shows the bird clinging to the man's car after a rainy day.

"You wanna see Chicago for a bit?" the man, who is driving Downtown, asks the bird as it rests on his window. "Welcome to Chicago. There's the Picasso right there."

The video looks cute, but Annette Prince said it actually appears to show a yellow-bellied sapsucker looking dazed and unwell — possibly after running into a window Downtown.

Thousands of birds like the one in the video will be coming through Chicago in the months to come, said Prince, who runs the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors. The group helps rescue migratory birds in Chicago.

"They're not an urban bird and they're not supposed to be in the city or certainly hanging onto a car," Prince said after seeing the video. After accidents like the sapsucker appears to have been in, "they're very confused. They're not necessarily frightened of people."

The best thing for people to do when having an encounter like that in the video would be to gently place the bid in a paper bag or box with a lid and call the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, who keep volunteers Downtown throughout April and May. The group's number is 773-988-1867.

A volunteer will pick up the bird and he or she will be taken to a wildlife center for a health checkup. Once they're well, they'll be released into a safe forest preserve so the bird can keep migrating.

If it's not possible to put the bird in a box or bag, they can be put on a planter or tree so they'll be safer, Prince said.

"A lot of times while they're stunned they can be kind of disoriented. The Downtown area is a really foreign place for them. We pick up hundreds of them every year that ere either injured or died ...," Prince said. "You want to make sure that nothing bad happens. It's a kind of a foreign environment. These guys are like little tourists coming through Chicago."

The sapsucker from the popular video doesn't appear to have anything broken — the bird just seems dazed, Prince said.

The bird, buffeted by wind as the man drove, eventually hopped on the man's arm inside the car. He sapsucker stayed there until the man got out of the car and walked to the sidewalk, and the bird flew away, according to the man's post on YouTube.

People will see many unusual bids coming through the city in coming months, Prince said. If any appear dazed or unwell, especially if they've been in an accident like hitting a building, the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors can be called to help at 773-988-1867.