© 2024 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Park City rehabilitation hospital helps wildlife soar

Jody Giddings, Park City Hummingbird Hospital
KPCW | Amber Johnson
Jody Giddings, Park City Hummingbird Hospital

The Park City Hummingbird Hospital brings care and healing to some of Utah’s smallest creatures.

Jody Giddings spent her career caring for kindergartners. Now, the retired teacher is using those same skills in a new way: rehabilitating injured and orphaned animals.

Four years ago, Giddings began volunteering at a wildlife center in Rhode Island, which led her to become a certified wildlife rehabilitator. When she moved to the area, she founded the nonprofit Park City Hummingbird Hospital in 2022 to care for injured and orphaned hummingbirds.

 She quickly found the demand for helping small, feathered creatures was so high that Giddings expanded the small rehab center on Sun Peak Drive to all birds, bats and small mammals. They also have temporary spaces in Kamas and Heber but her goal is to build a clinic and visiting center where all caging can be done in one place.

 Last fall, the hospital’s hummingbird hotline received over 600 calls from concerned private citizens and agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. One of those calls was from Parley’s Park Elementary School where an owlet fell out of the tree. Giddings partnered with Canyons Fire Department to renest it.

Park City Hummingbird Hospital

Another request was from a man who stumbled upon a dead owl under a tree when hiking near Smith and Morehouse. He quickly noticed her three babies nearby.

 “He grabbed three of them that looked to be still alive and threw them in his jacket and hiked miles out to his truck," said Giddings. "He then called us and said, ‘I know it’s Sunday afternoon but I need help. What should I  do?' He sent us a picture and brought them in and we just immediately started care.”

The hospital partners with a veterinarian in Salt Lake City for the more advanced cases and unfortunately, one of the owlets had spinal damage and needed to be euthanized. But the other two responded well to treatment and were transferred to a flight cage at a private resident’s home in Heber. 

“And they've been there now for about a week and a half and they're flying," she said. "We put live prey in with them and they are able to catch the prey and bring it back up to their branch. They're definitely ready to go. So, our goal today is we're going to be releasing them this afternoon.”

The hospital is involved with research projects throughout the state as well as the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.

Volunteers range in age from their 20s to their 80s. Giddings said they are currently caring for Willy, a baby flying squirrel who broke his leg when he fell out of a tree at Wasatch Mountain State Park.

“He's one of the few animals that we actually can interact with," she said. "These guys are super social, so they would be in a tight pack with their mom. Some of our volunteers will have him in their pocket with them for a couple of hours during the day. And he just goes right to sleep, he just likes to be kind of nuzzled in there. He's on formula–he’s just learning to eat."

 Giddings loves seeing her efforts take flight. “And a lot of the times we let the volunteers do the releases, because they've put in the hard work, and then they can go back to we had a Black-headed Grosbeak that came in last weekend that had a really hard window strike and that people didn't even think it would live. But we had a realtor volunteer that was helping get that into Old Town and release it and she'd never done it before. And she just said it was awesome.”

Also awesome: a small but mighty hospital that gives some of Utah’s smallest creatures a second chance at life.