AUGUST 2015 – Franco Cruz, age 10, has a heart of pure gold. Little Franco recently rescued 26 overweight, shell back birds from the ocean on a recent trip to San Diego with his family in early July. The big hearted youngster and his family rescued the hefty young birds who had yet to grow feathers or shed their shells and drove them back to their hometown of Santa Ysabel, CA, about 45 miles inland from where the birds were rescued from the pounding surf of the Pacific Ocean.
Speaking from their modest home, Franco’s mother Vanessa couldn’t be prouder of her son. “He is amazing, every day he is working with these birds to strengthen their wings and keep them on a proper diet so that they can learn to fly,” Vanessa said. Franco’s goal certainly won’t come easily, it will take a lot of hard work and patience. “Every morning I take them up to the canyons behind my house and try to coax them to fly,” said Franco. Franco admits he’s not their mother and teaching the birds is a challenge for both him and the birds. He regrets his early attempts to teach the birds to fly before they were ready saying “I guess their mom wouldn’t just throw them up and over the edge to teach them.”
Franco has 16 more chances to save these birds, “If I save only one of these fat birds it will all have been worth it” he said as he stood at the edge of the canyon, determined young bird in hand.