With panoramic views of the Hudson River, lush flower gardens and its historic Cloisters museum, Fort Tryon Park in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan is an exquisite haven of nature amidst New York City’s concrete-encrusted landscape. It is also home to such urban wildlife as squirrels, skunks, migratory birds, and … chickens?!
At least, that’s what two young sisters discovered – a hen nesting under a bush – while walking their family’s pair of rescued racing greyhounds around the park in late February. The lost bird was likely an escapee from one of the city’s live markets, where chickens and other “food” birds are sold from storefronts and slaughtered on the spot. Holly, 15, and Emma, 12, probably saved the indigent hen’s life by carrying her home, because a severe snowstorm struck the area that night.
Before moving to the Big Apple about a year ago, Holly and Emma’s family lived in the San Francisco Bay Area suburbs where they kept chickens as companions, so they knew how to care for Boba, as Holly dubbed the feathered fugitive, who subsequently spent several weeks in their apartment. According to the girls’ mom, Karen, “Boba is a sweet, affectionate girl who loves being held and cuddled. However, keeping a hen in a Manhattan flat isn’t exactly practical, and it soon became clear to us that she was lonely for other chickens, so we decided to find her a more suitable home.”
And this is exactly what Boba has at Farm Sanctuary. She is currently in quarantine, awaiting test results to ensure she doesn’t have any contagious diseases that could be passed to other birds. Farm Sanctuary Placement Coordinator Melissa Reed reports that Boba “Is an extremely friendly bird who is curious about everything the caretakers and her chicken neighbors in nearby pens are doing.” When Boba is declared healthy, she will join a flock of about 50 other rescued “broiler” chickens and make many new friends.