PORTLAND, Maine — Four baby starlings were rescued this week from a Portland dumpster and brought to a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Cape Neddick.

Center for Wildlife shared a photo of the birds Friday, explaining that a person passing by the dumpster had heard the starlings' calls, muffled by a plastic trash bag they were in and garbage piled on top of them.

Inside, the babies were covered in coffee grounds and other trash, nest and all, tossed away in an area along the waterfront left unidentified by whomever dropped them off at the rehab center.

"Cases like these baffle and sadden us," the Facebook post said. "The cruelty, lack of empathy, and complete disregard for life leaves us at a loss."

According to Center for Wildlife, one of the starling babies suffered a broken leg, and the other three are are "confused, hungry and subdued." They're within a week from starting to fledge, making it even more frustrating, it says.

"We cannot imagine how confusing this must be for them as well as for their parents who returned to find the nest and babies gone," the center writes. "There are so many ways to humanely live alongside wildlife, and there is never a justification for simply tossing a life away in the trash."

Had they not been found, the babies would've slowly starved to death or been crushed under more garbage and suffocated, Center for Wildlife says.

The center says it's hopeful with supportive care the babies will make a complete recovery and be able to be released.

Center for Wildlife, a nonprofit, does not receive state or federal funding. Donations can be made at thecenterforwildlife.org.