Sunday, June 10, 2012

Many People Keep Baby Birds

    We weren't exactly sure what to do. After several hours glued to the "boob tube," I thought we should go out and get some fresh air. The nearest open area to walk was the college campus. My husband suspected that the wildest thing we would see in the neighborhood would be the dogs the students had carelessly not put on a leash-- yes, dogs can be "wild" too if they aren't properly trained!
    So we were headed toward the middle of campus, probably to see the fountain, when I spied something odd in a campus parking lot-- a tiny bird! And when I say tiny, I mean tiny, probably a little bigger than a helpless baby bird, but this one seemed to have most of  its feathers, which looked brown and black, a brown spot on its crown with some dark gray fuzziness around it, and a beak that was immature, with the outwardly yellow outline on it. It was difficult to know how old the baby bird was either.
    "We shouldn't leave it here," I reasoned, in the middle of the parking lot. But my husband suggested we look around first. We tried to find a nest in the nearby trees --- no nest in the redbud trees, no nest in the young maple, and we couldn't find one in the very high eaves of the apartment building across from the parking lot. Where the heck did it come from?
     Frank took out a handkerchief. It did a little hopping (I found out that is a sign of maturity) and he tried to handle it gently. Then it hopped right into a hole next to the telephone pole! He somehow got it out without mangling it but it looked so darn delicate. It is wonder some things in nature manage to survive, they seem so fragile. And so we took it home.
    My thought was that we would feed it and get the name of a game warden to take it to a wildlife "rehabilitator", so we cleaned out an old cat carrier and put it in that. And put a towel over the front to keep our ol' cat out of it!
    Then I did some research online and found out that maybe, we should have just left the baby bird there. After all, if it had fallen out of a nest the parents would be nearby, and according to , the mother bird can hear the baby bird if it is within a two block radius of the nest. But since it had mostly "real "feathers, I assumed it could also be a fledging. Either way, I decided, with some misgivings, to take the little bugger back to the the area by the parking lot, and let it out in some bushes. I hope it does okay. I think I will go back in a few days and see if it is still there. Hopefully it will reunite with its family.
   But there are a number of  people and even a Yahoo group of  people who raise baby birds. They say you can use puppy chow soaked in warm water an hour so it is soggy, and in a Youtube video of a baby sparrow, which mine looked like,  they used a water dropper to feed the baby bird.
   I've seen a few websites where people have raised "house sparrows" that were injured. One rehabilitator said that if they took the sparrow to one of those centers they might just feed it to a predator like a hawk! Now  THAT wouldn't be fair at all!
    They say house sparrows, which were introduced to the U. S. in the 1850s, may be a type of Weaver finch instead. There definitely are a lot of sparrow species and so similar if you only catch a quick glimpse of them they are hard to tell apart. Maybe I should join a birding club.

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