Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Caller Says: #1, All A-Flutter

A small bird was in the backyard, not flying.

First question is always is this a small adult bird or baby bird?

Second question is what was the bird doing before you discovered it and what has it been doing since?

In the spring, summer and early fall you can occasionally find nestling babies that should be in the nest but that have fallen out due to the weather or other forces. These babies will have some naked pink spots yet. Those can be replaced in their nest should be, but only when warmed under a lamp or in your hand before doing so. In cases where the nest has been destroyed or is too high to reach the baby can be replaced in a substitute nest. A substitute nest can be made of a wicker basket, hanging plant basket or any plastic container with drainage holes in it. If using plastic be sure to line it with dried grasses, sticks or leaves so that it isn’t slippery. Hang a substitute nest at least 5-6 feet off the ground so it is out of easy reach of neighborhood pets and kids and within hearing distance of the original nest. Don’t feed the baby; it should be hungry and peep because of it – that noise alerts the parents to where it is and they will feed it as well as the siblings back in the original nest.

Fledglings are babies that are old enough to leave the nest. They spend a couple of days hopping around the ground and making buzz flights an inch or two above the ground a foot or two at a time. That is how they learn to fly and build up their strength; activities they can’t do in a nest. Their parents continue to feed them on the ground but don’t stay with the baby at all times. Fledglings are mostly feathered, with wing feathers and a start of tail feathers, but may still have a bit of baby fluff. Babies at this stage should be left alone and monitored from a distance.

In this case, the bird in question was an adult who had flown into the window. Most of the time window strikes cause a bird to be temporarily stunned. We suggest putting them in a covered box, or in a pinch a paper bag with a couple of air holes, and letting them rest someplace quiet for an hour. This protects them from predators and the quiet darkness also helps to reduce their shock. After an hour, take the box outside and open it. If the bird can fly out, fine. If not, it is more seriously injured and should come to a rehabilitator for evaluation. This bird was destined to have a better day and flew away after a short rest.

Thanks for caring!

PS. Don't forget that Tazino's Pizza and Salad Bistro in Menomonee Falls is hosting a 10% event for the Wildlife In Need Center this evening! Download a flyer [here] and 10% of your order will be donated to help us care for our wild neighbors! Tell all your friends and we'll see you there!

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