June 18, 2007

Bird Help

OK, people, who knows what to do about baby birds on the ground. Some cardinals nested in the rhodedendron near my front door, and just now there was a kerfuffle (some sparrows fluttering around, lots of schiping, angry cardinals) and I looked over to see babies on the ground. The good news is that it is a relatively secluded spot, and I already have up some low fencing to keep the dogs out of the area. Mom and Dad are feeding them, and nothing seems to be broken (they are flopping around with directional intent to get to the meal wagon). My concern is cats in the nighttime. I know there is "nature taking its course" aspect here, but the neighbor's kitty doesn't really seem to fit in. Also, I know that for some babies, flopping out and learning to move around is part of the process, and putting them back in the nest might result in them hopping back out again. I think they are about a week old.

Any advice?

Posted by binky at June 18, 2007 02:02 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Ecology


After an hour and a half of watching these little critters, the "wait and watch" approach seems to be the way to go. There doesn't seem to be any reason to put them back up in their nests, and the best service is to keep domestic animals away. The papa bird has been devilishly persistent in modeling behavior for the little ones. He comes down as if he would feed them, and they begin their frenzy of flapping and mouth opening, but then papa does a different kind of chirp (I'm thinking of it as the "follow me!") and hops up one little branch above the ground. Up down, up down, chirp chirp. One of the little ones just barely got it, hopping up onto a branch about 2 inches off the ground. Now that he is up, papa just gave him a mouthful. I'm hopeful the other one catches on, because right now he is kind of wandering around on the ground. Still exercising his wings, and giving fluttery flaps, but not getting the whole "up" program.

Posted by: binky at June 18, 2007 03:39 PM | PERMALINK

how COOL!!! i'm so jealous of your afternoon's entertainment!

Posted by: moon at June 18, 2007 04:17 PM | PERMALINK

Well, theoretically I am doing "research" whilst logged into the delightful library system, but at 88 degrees on the porch, and with the laptop burning a hole through my lap, yeah, I admit to keeping an eye on the birdies.

And I succumbed to a small intervention. The little guy on the ground wasn't getting any chow, so I helped him gain a little elevation, and now they are both getting fed.

Posted by: binky at June 18, 2007 05:54 PM | PERMALINK

Updating again, the birdies made it through the night. I have had to pick one up and put him back in the safe zone a couple of times, because he keeps getting himself wedged between two large rocks on the outside (where snorgles could turn to gulps). But papa bird is continuing his duties and all seems well.

Posted by: binky at June 19, 2007 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Sad news on the birdie front. It looks like one of the little ones died in the night. S/he was smaller and more vocal, and a lot more flappy, and s/he kept launching her/imself out of the branches and onto the ground. The papa bird would try to lead her/im upwards, but s/he just didn't catch on. Yesterday, s/he was still getting fed, although I think the parents started neglecting her/him for the stronger sibling that was following the program. I just went out to peek, and the little one was one the ground, not moving.

Posted by: binky at June 21, 2007 10:09 AM | PERMALINK
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