Mountain Bluebird Rescue

Mountain Bluebird, Nestling

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

These supporting baby bird photos, which aren’t clear and crisp, were taken as my fragile subject warmed-up beneath a red heat lamp. With only a feather or two on its tiny wings, maybe six-seven days old? Those feather bits helped save the fallen baby, for at first it was hard identifying what exactly squirmed around on the barn floor and against a wall. The active creature, about the size of a Jerusalem Beetle, forced me to look closely, and ah, feathers–voila!, a tiny bird.

For weeks, I’ve watched a Bluebird pair, annual visitors, fly in and out of the barn to build a nest, and recently begin feeding babies. That nest, in a ridiculous place, at least keeps babies safe from Maxwell, my cat. It’s high, atop a beam, and nestled into the tiny crevice where beam meets ceiling. The parents and I are mutually accepting. They keep a small distance, holding catches and waiting for me to leave the barn, before swooping in and up to feed noisy babies. They leave quickly, often through a rear exit, and the babies quiet immediately. Soon they return carrying more capture to a renewed and insistent chorus.

I looked up, reaffirming that the nest was too high to reach. Even on a ladder, the tiny crevice couldn’t accommodate my hand with a baby. I bent and lifted the bird, unable to stand on its own and very small, nearly lost in my hand. I moved it to a more visible spot on the barn floor and stepped outside to a distance to watch the parents and note that they found the baby. In my mind loomed Maxwell, who’d have to become an insider full-time, until this baby matured. Soon a parent flew into the barn, straight up to its nest as the babies squawked, and then, mom or pop flew out the back way. When another parent showed up, same process. Several times, they repeated this without noticing their floored baby.

Was that because baby wasn’t aware of its parent flying overhead and not responding noisily? Had it simply fallen from that high nest or been pushed out? Since it didn’t seem particularly weak or unhealthy, who knew, and more importantly, how might one save a nestling?

I picked up and tucked it into a small critter carrier, called and left messages on the “wild bird hotlines”, and went in search of something to feed an infant bird. I completed an entire “critter circle”, went to Wilco, Wild Bird, High Desert Feed, Petco, and SmartPet, returning home with a box of mealworms, refrigerated and dormant but alive.

Using a forceps, I picked up a beetle, offered it, and baby’s mouth yawned large. Its jaws, receiving a poke, closed in acceptance and immediately reopened for more. After a couple beetles, and figuring the baby’s crop needed to process, I left it to finish my chores.

During the following hours, we repeated this feeding procedure frequently and successfully. The bird on hearing me approach lifted its head, opened its mouth, and noisily hollered, “Feed me, feed me!”, and then swallowed. The instant we finished, baby dropped its head and slept soundly.

Around 8:00 that evening a bird rescuer returned my call and we arranged to transfer the baby. Well, that’s my single baby Bluebird rescue, and now, aware that these lovely parents might not be alert enough, I’m watching their nest, keeping an eye on my barn floor, and also on Maxwell.

Dear Friends, hoping those babies may safely fledge from their tiny crevice nest. Diana

3 thoughts on “Mountain Bluebird Rescue

  1. I knew your blog would have a happy ending! Thanks for caring for this wee creature!😊

    On Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 7:33 AM Diana’s Morning Blog wrote:

    > trailriderincentraloregon posted: ” Mountain Bluebird, Nestling Tuesday, > June 04, 2019 These supporting baby bird photos, which aren’t clear and > crisp, were taken as my fragile subject warmed-up beneath a red heat lamp. > With only a feather or two on its tiny wings, maybe six-seven da” >

    Like

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