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Rescued bird inspires children's book by Downers Grove native

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 2:54 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Colin McAuliffe)
Colin McAuliffe for Shaw Media Kristin Ludwig gets kisses from one of the birds rescued from a hoarder house in Aurora last year. Ludwig created and wrote a children's book about the birds to help raise money for them.

DOWNERS GROVE – After everything Nubs the parakeet has been through, people probably would understand if he was a bit of a grump.

Instead, the bird’s happy demeanor inspired Downers Grove native Kristin Ludwig to write an inspirational children’s book in the rescued bird’s honor and create a charity in his name.

“You can be born into a circumstance that is not fair,” Ludwig said. “But you still have a decision in the way that you live your life.”

Ludwig adopted Nubs and another parakeet named Freckles after they were rescued in October from a hoarder’s feces-filled home in Aurora. More than 300 birds were taken alive from the home, and more than 100 more were found dead inside.

“When you opened the front door there was about two- to three-feet deep of waste and refuse, including dead bodies of birds,” Aurora City Spokesman Clayton Muhammad said.

Ludwig, a Grayslake biochemist who grew up in Downers Grove, saw the house on the news and contacted the Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club to volunteer. She spent two months working with the rescue group, helping place birds in new homes.

After a monthlong quarantine, the group placed about 150 of the parakeets and other small birds in adoptive homes like Ludwig’s, Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club treasurer Diana Federl said. About 200 more were placed in the aviary of Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City, Ind.

“Birds are very resilient,” Federl said. “Most of them will come around and be very friendly if they get to know people. We’ve had several people tell us how pleased they were with them, and that they calmed down nicely.”

Ludwig said she picked Nubs and Freckles for adoption because they needed more special care than the other birds. Since, Ludwig and veterinarians have nursed them back to the best health they can.

Both birds suffer from terminal heart disease, despite being less than 2 years old, she said, a result of inbreeding. They also are each missing one foot, another inbreeding consequence, which is how Nubs got his name.

“It throws them completely off balance,” she said. “So they can’t perch the way a bird should perch. They have a very hard time flying, they crash into things because they’re always on a tilt.”

Despite that, both birds are highly social, she said.

“They’re very friendly,” she said. “They’re very cute.

“That inspired me – look at what a hard time these birds have gone through, and that’s a great example for everybody.”

The picture book tells the story of Nubs’ rescue and finding a new home.

Proceeds from the book will go to the Washington Park Zoo aviary where the other rescued birds were taken.

Once she meets her fundraising goal, the charity named NUBS (No Unwanted BirdS), will choose new causes to fund, Ludwig said.

She said she wrote the book to be an inspiration to children,and did not dwell on the shortened life that Nubs will have.

“I took them in knowing they would not live a long life, but that does not mean they shouldn’t live a great life in the time they have left,” she said.

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