Monday, July 05, 2021 — (In 18 days, July’s fullest moon [“Thunder”] will rise.)
The rescued fledgling in my care might be ready to fly. Assisted by flapping wings, it escapes its cage and lands on my shoulder where it enjoys riding. Its wings assist another hop, from shoulder to finger. It knows the signals asking for a transition onto my finger.
Earlier today, we were outside (in lovely cool weather!) listening to resident robins. This little one, alert to all sounds, made bunches of small chirps (probably its nest voice) but didn’t attempt to leave my finger.
Later today, we’ll do a few bird-tossings and maybe achieve flight.
I’ve enjoyed several days working with this lovely bird. Besides growing stronger, it’s taught that robins are smart, fun, and affectionate. Its instincts are strong, fascinating to observe.
Rescuing a wild fledgling is a big job, time-consuming and often worrisome. I stop anything else I might be doing after every half-hour or 45 minutes to feed this bird. It always seems starving. Because of the pandemic and current live bait shortages, this baby has been getting easily accessible night crawlers. Baby’s mouth can’t take an entire crawler so I cut each into several pieces. One crawler for this baby is a satisfying meal.
A rescuer needs efficient feeding tools. I favor a curved hemostat, which grips food and simulates a parent’s pushing beak. Another tool is soft plastic tweezers which don’t grip food tightly, resulting in my having to chase worm parts (yes, they’re alive!) through bird cage bedding. It’s essential that a gentle hand is poking food into baby’s throat.
The resident robins have taught me about bird hydration. They dunk live catches into a birdbath before flying off to feed their young. I am borrowing that technique and dunk food pieces into filtered water before feeding the rescue. Providing water itself to a bird is tricky, but sometimes it seems to need a little more moisture. I use a tiny syringe to drip one or two mms into its lower beak. The bird raises its head and gravity lowers the fluid.
It’s easy to become attached to a cute, sweet little bird. This one has learned to recognize my voice, recognizes my mannerisms, and communicates back effectively. It’ll be hard watching this youngster fly away–inexperienced, wobbly, vulnerable. If all goes well, it’ll grow into a healthy adult and remain a local resident. Surely on some level, we’ll continue to feel a connection.
Dear Friends: The challenges of rescue: obtaining food, keeping a schedule, and letting go. Diana