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August 20th, 2004

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08:10 pm - I have a baby bird.
I have a baby bird.

He does not need a name -- I'm not even sure if "he" is the appropriate pronoun -- but he needs help. We had a wicked thunderstorm go by earlier this evening and lots of trees lost limbs and branches and stuff. As I was walking up the hill to get home, I saw him lying on his back in a big crack in the sidewalk. Water was running through the crack and he was kicking madly.

Kick, kick, kick. He's got fight in him. He didn't want to drown in no stinkin sidewalk crack. I was not sure if he was kicking to right himself or if it's instinct or if he bonked his head in the fall or what. I couldn't see the nest anywhere in any of the nearby trees so I don't know where the heck he came from unless the nest was lost too. I knew I had to at least move him out of the sidewalk crack, though, before he became completely waterlogged and lost his will to kick. Two ants ran off him while I moved him. Ants are scavenging bastards. I have no qualms burning them up with a magnifying glass the next time I see them.

The little bird is a fledgling but not all grown up yet. He's got his feathers, though his head is pretty bald, and some parts look as if they weren't fully grown yet. He's got this weird spike of feathers on his back behind his head that don't seem to belong anywhere but sticking up.

Strange little fellow. I like his attitude.

I rummaged through my backpack and got out the box my headset is supposed to live in (not anymore) and gently picked him up. Nothing looked broken; his wings looked like they're where they need to be, and both legs are definitely not broken cause he likes to kick.

I took him home and padded the box down with bits of crumpled up toilet paper and tissue. I figured he might be kicking cause he wasn't in a nest-like environment, so I was gonna give him one. So far the cats have not figured out I have a Snack on premises and with any luck and determination they're not going to notice. I still haven't figured out which species, feline or avian, will be put behind the single bedroom door tonight. I guess I could also keep the bird in the nightstand drawer; the box is closed a tidge with enough room for air to circulate, and I could keep the drawer open a tad.

Tomorrow I'm going to call Animal Control or a local shelter and figure out what I can do with him. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

Tonight he is staying here and drying out. I can already hear him rustling about in the box; he's getting his strength back. Good baby bird.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2004 06:47 pm (UTC)


You've captured the spirit of the famous Sioux Holy Man, Kicking Bird.
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2004 06:53 pm (UTC)
Arnie the Darling Starling may be able to give you some tips if you decide to keep the poor thing.
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2004 06:56 pm (UTC)
I raised a fledgling thrush that somebody brought to the ranger station last summer. Kept him for a few weeks with success. You need a pair of tweezers and some hard kitten food (adult food lacks nutrients, though this evening it would probably work just to fill his belly). They eat often. Offer food to him every few hours (not sure how you can deal with him while at work - can someone else look in on him?) Perhaps feeding him right before you leave (possibly twice in the morning if you get up early enough), right when you get home, and every 2-3 hours between then and bed will work. Anyway, soak a couple/few chunks of the kitten chow in water until it's really mushy. Then use tweezers to feed him the food.

The vet at the bird rehab facility that I dealt with suggested making the same noise every time you fed him so that he'd imprint on me so that I could call him back after release to feed him a few more times before he was fully self-sufficient, but that part of the plan never worked out. Still, it's worth a try. I made little kissing noises when I fed him. Sounds silly, I know.

Anyway, that's the best advice I can offer. Perhaps a local zoo or vet might be able to give you some free over the phone guidance as well.
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2004 06:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, and they get their water from what's soaked in the food, so don't worry about water.

Oh, and keep his box clean.
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2004 07:20 pm (UTC)
See, the thing is that I can totally see myself making little kissy noises while feeding a baby bird mushed-up kitten food with tweezers. And it's something worth writing about, too.

Thank you so much for the tips! Jo found me a number of a rehabilitation specialist in Boston (at the Science Museum, interestingly enough) and I'll be calling him tomorrow too. I don't like the idea of leaving birdo alone during work (tho wouldn't it be cool if I took him to work with me, feeding him as I took calls -- though I do not think the commute would be good for him, much less the florescent lights, loud environment and the fact that I don't think he has anything Work Casual to wear.) I'd have to keep him in the closed-off bedroom so the cats can't get to him, too. Hopefully the rehab specialist will be able to take him in so he'll fare better.

[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2004 07:59 pm (UTC)
Crazy though this is, I could probably look in on him while you're at work...though I'll be out of town next weekend.
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2004 10:06 pm (UTC)

i always heard mashed egg , but Ken-L ration? YUM

Food for Baby Birds

This is to be used for baby birds that fall from the nest.

1 can Ken-L Ration dog food
1 hardboiled egg, mashed
2 tablespoons Hi-Protein baby cereal

Mix well. Form into rather large pellets (the size of a raisin). Offer to birds every half hour, feeding as much as they will take each time. Mixture may be refrigerated. Offer water from medicine dropper, but very little is needed and should be given carefully to avoid aspiration into lungs causing pneumonia. It is next to impossible to overfeed.
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2004 11:55 pm (UTC)
I work at the local Audubon Center where we rehab many baby songbirds. I would *not* recommend letting him imprint on you; you'll never get rid of him, and he'll never learn to live on his own. If he's a fledgling, he may be able to eat on his own. Mealworms, seed, or fruit depending on what kind of bird he is. I would check up on him every hour or other hour or so and give him some of that cat food mix if he starts gaping (opening his mouth real wide). We use a syringe with no needle for that at the center.
Look up Audubon in your phone book and they'll direct you to your nearest wildlife rehabber.
[User Picture]
Date:August 21st, 2004 01:10 am (UTC)
I'm curious. How do you care for a baby bird without allowing him to imprint on you? I would have assumed that it came with the territory.
[User Picture]
Date:August 21st, 2004 11:37 am (UTC)
Basically, you have to just try to leave it alone. It's adorable and you want to pet it and hold it, but you can't. When you feed it every fifteen minutes (it gets less frequent as it gets older), you shouldn't talk to it or pick it up (unless it is necessary for the feeding). If it flys to you (which it may), just pick it up and put it back in its little nest. Minimize contact and just do what you have to to keep it alive and well and that's it.

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