Friday, June 13, 2014

Babysitting Baby Birds: Stogie's Wildlife Rescue

One of My Baby Robins
I've been busy for the past two and a half days, babysitting two baby Robin birds that I rescued from my backyard.  I believe they simply got too big for their nest and were either blown out by the wind, or decided to explore.  In any case, my dog Bogie found them hopping about the yard, and was following them around, sniffing them, all while several adult Robins shrieked and flapped noisily overhead.  The baby birds have feathers, but cannot yet fly.

I quickly found a small box, and retrieved the baby Robins.  I put them (as well as their original nest, which I removed from the tree) in the box, and the box in the tree from which they had fallen, and hoped mom and dad would feed them.  Night was falling, so I left them there overnight.  Yesterday morning, I checked on them to find that one of them had escaped the box and was again huddling in the grass below. I decided to get more involved, so took the box from the tree and returned the escapee to his cardboard cell.  By now both birds were showing me open yellow beaks, and I knew I had to feed them or they might starve.  I was unsure that the mother bird would attempt to feed them, but my fears proved unfounded.  More about that later.

I bought earthworms from a bait shop, and canned mealworms from a pet store (as well as a bird cage), and began feeding them.  They ate well and were soon at full strength and vigor.  They were able to hop up to the box edge and sit there, and I joined them outside, to watch them and see what they might do.  They were completely unafraid of me at this point, would sit on my finger, and occasionally open their beaks to say "feed me!"  Later, when I went in the house, I noticed that adult Robins were coming to the box with beaks full of food, and feeding the little ones.  This was a relief, and lessened my worries about their chances for survival.

Bogie and Bird
One of the birds, the escapee, is more ambulatory than his brother, and began hopping about the canvas shelter area of the back patio (my dog, though curious, has shown no inclination to harm the birds).  I let him wander a bit, but always returned him to the safety of the box.  When night was falling, I transferred the birds to the bird cage, to protect them from predators (like roaming cats), and covered the cage with a towel for warmth.  They spent the night on the patio table, underneath the canvas shelter.

This morning the birds were still in fine shape, but hungry.  I fed them earthworms and mealworms, but as I sat here writing this, I can see the box through the sliding doors to the patio, and have seen the adult Robin visit the baby birds three times already.  I think the birds are a week or so from flying, and I will watch over them until they can fly and survive on their own.

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