CHARLOTTE -- A late November fire killed dozens of rescued birds. Weeks later, Jennifer Gordon tells Spectrum News the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue is just trying to get back to normal.

“We feel responsible for the animals that are here and we take each loss hard,” said Gordon, the rescue’s director.

Forty-three birds were killed after a fire broke out in their recovery barn on November 19. In the aftermath, staffers put up makeshift shelters in the barn’s side yard.

Volunteer Holly Quinn said, “As tragic as it was, we’re thankful as it could have been so much worse.”

A majority of the injured birds will return to the rescue from the hospital today. But the fire leaves emotional scars on the suriving animals

“They’re not quite themselves,” explained Gordon. “We can attribute that to they lost mates or family members. Some of the geese – they mate for life.”

Reparing the recovery barn is going to take a lot of work – Gordon said they want to install a security system with smoke detectors, new wiring, and heating. And while there isn’t an estimate just yet, we’re told its going to be costly. Costly, but necessary.

“We won’t be able to take in as many animals as we’d like if we don’t rebuild it,” Quinn said.

Unfortunately, a planned “Giving Tuesday” campaign fell short – monetary donations are still needed to cover whatever insurance does not.

“We’re doing everything we can to ensure it doesn't happen again. When we build it it’ll get done the right way,” said Gordon.