Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The unexpected consequences of being unemployed

The other day we received a call from a gentleman regarding a nest of baby birds. It’s not an uncommon call this time of year. This nest was different however, because it was inside of the engine compartment of his truck! Squirrels and other small animals will build nests from time to time in a vehicle that gets left out while the owner is on vacation for example, and they can build a nest and move their babies into it from another nest in a matter of hours or days. A bird however, needs time to build it’s nest, lay its eggs, and then incubate those eggs before there’s even a prospect of finding baby birds in a place like this.

So, how long has this truck been sitting that it can’t sit for another week and a half until these baby birds fledge the nest? His response was that being out of work for the past 18 months hasn’t given him very many reasons to drive it! The couple of times he had driven it, he hadn’t realized they were even there! Thankfully, they were tucked safely right above the wheel well and hadn’t made a peep until they were hatched and big enough to realize that they were away from their parents!

Because he now had a reason to drive the truck and didn’t want to be taking the babies away from their parents I advised him to attach the nest onto a mid-sized ladder, place it in a flower basket hanging from a shepherds hook, or another object that would keep it up off the ground. This way the nest would be safe from kids and pets in the neighborhood and if he placed this object directly near the side of the truck that it was originally, the parents shouldn’t have too much trouble finding them to continue their care. Because these birds had their nest in a covered area to begin with he could’ve also placed the nest within a box for protection, either on its side or with a hole cut in it for a doorway.

We raise hundreds of orphaned songbirds each year with the help of our adult and junior volunteers. If you are 12 or 13 with an interested parent or guardian or 14 and up and interested in helping us help them contact us today!
We’re getting lots of calls about baby birds now, especially ones that are on the ground. If you find baby birds that have blown out of the nest the best thing to do is to try to return them to their nest. If that’s not possible then you can easily provide them with a replacement nest. To do this take a small plastic container – if it doesn’t already have holes in it, like a strawberry basket for example, then poke some in the bottom to prevent it from filling up with water. Fill the container with dried grasses, small twigs or other dried natural materials that won’t hold in moisture like green materials would. Then you can tie it, hang it, or attach it to the tree, bush or structure they fell from at a level which you can reach. Six to 8 feet is best, but even 3 or 4 feet will be safer than being on the ground. For more information contact your local rehabilitator or the Wildlife In Need Center at 262-968-5075

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