Sunday, July 10, 2021 — (In 12 days, July’s fullest moon [“Thunder”] will rise.)
A pleasant break in the heat this early morning. Last evening, no sign of little “Bird” flying-in for its “before-dark meal” and a night in the garage. Bird spent last night outside. Today as I made coffee, a familiar chirp from the garden drew me out and Bird flew to me, landing with a wide-open mouth. A single worm was as much as Bird could consume, so on its own, already had found eats.
Bird fully has fledged.
I understand it takes Robin babies about two weeks to leave the nest (fledge). After that, they usually stay with their parents another two or three weeks, during which the father continues feeding them while the mother starts incubating a new brood of eggs.
All this began when I heard this baby’s parents screaming at it during an evening. They still were screaming the next morning. I looked for what was causing the ruckus and saw their baby on the ground, and among my dogs in a fenced area. The parents probably weren’t safe to feed baby. It was weak and by a miracle unbothered by my dogs. It seemed helplessly vulnerable.
I picked it up, moved it to a safer area, but still it was very weak. A deciding factor was that a large raptor circled slowly overhead. I adopted the baby Robin. Almost right away, its parents dropped responsibility for its welfare. Little Bird quickly responded to its new primary provider and was comfortable in my hands. Baby learned my voice and physical mannerisms, it grasped our care and feeding routines.
Over our days together, just short of three weeks, Baby has thrived. From here on we’ll probably interact directly less. This morning, Baby was happy having its morning worm but didn’t seem very needy.
Thinking back at how I figured out what to do about a semi-helpless infant bird amazes. I knew pet stores carry live food, knew baby birds could consume mealworms. But I learned that nowadays live pet foods are in short supply. The current lasting intense heat wave interferes with shipping living creatures and the pandemic has forced many bait breeders out of business. I also learned that bait shops still carry live earthworms. Baby has thrived on night crawlers.
An important bit of awareness came from my habit of watching adult Robins as they hunt. I consider them “The Border Collies of birds” and enjoy seeing them pausing to listen before dashing to capture. Often, they dunk a capture into a water source before carrying it to babies. That’s a way of hydrating that I copied. All Baby’s food bits were sloshed through water before entering the welcoming beak.
A little research reveals that Robins don’t eat seeds but do hunt for fruit. That encouraged me to augment the worm protein with freshly chopped blueberries and blackberries.
Over this stretch of time, of my not working away from home, I could attend to an infant’s needs. The bird and I developed a close relationship offering me an opportunity to be a mom and bird one to thrive. Beautifully, everything is working out as Nature directs and on its timeline.
Dear Friends: In my mind always these couple of weeks will be treasured moments. Diana