The other day while Hubby and I were doing a delicate and graceful ballet of chores, he, outside mowing the grass, and I, tripping over a very fast running Junior inside while attempting to clean, finish laundry and try to make it into the shower, we were blessed with a view seldom seen (at least by us). Hubby called me from outside (this is how we operate, calling each other like our phones are walkie talkies) to see “how fast I could get outside”. His statement is laughable at best since it was a breezy day and Junior was still running around in his pajama bottoms, and I had the laundry half into the machine. While heading into the back yard Hubby had come across a baby bird in the grass, it’s parents yelling at it from above. Since going outside in a hurry wasn’t an option I ascertained that the bird was not in the back yard, since our dogs would surely dispatch it quickly, and that yes it was still alive (hubby sometimes leaves out these details for dramatic effect). Once Junior was clothes, my chores on the go, I did what I do best. Googled. Since I’m a nature lover, but yet don’t know everything there is to know about country life, I needed to know how best to handle a baby bird. Do you wear gloves so that the mother doesn’t reject? Do you bring it inside for feedings every 3 hours until you release it back into the wild? Within minutes I discovered that baby birds are rarely rejected once touched to be replaced into the nest, and that certain times you should not touch a baby bird on the ground.
If the baby bird is featherless, and the nest has been knocked to the ground, carefully set reattach the nest to a sheltered branch, or if the nest has been damaged or you cant find the original nest still in the tree, make a nest of shredded paper in a small basket and place in the tree, replace the baby bird into the nest, carefully placing its tiny legs under it.
But if the bird indeed has feathers, it is called a fledgling and should not be touched. A fledgling may have “fallen” while attempting to practice for it’s first flight, or it may have been pushed from the best as a weaker bird. In the case of a fledgling, it is best to not intervene, but perhaps ensure it is safe from cats, cars, kids and dogs.
I slipped into some shoes, bundled up Junior and went outside to determine the little birds fate. After waiting for a few minutes to get Hubby’s attention as he whipped around the back yard on the John Deere, we were pointed in the direction of a large pine tree in our side yard. Junior and I crept close to take a look at the baby bird. It was indeed a fledgling, (I really didnt want to be touching a baby bird anyways), and it had aleady hopped up into the lower branches. Since the neighbours cats usually leave our yard alone during the day, and the dogs were fenced in the back yard, I figured the little bird was safe. Figured……
Later on, as I took my turn on the mower, and Junior was napping inside, Hubby ushered me over, head shaking, and then I saw our poor fledgling… in the back yard!!! And of course… dead. My stupid dog (or smart?) had made sure the intruder did not live. Poor birdy. I suppose, that if the little baby had hopped/fallen from the branches, and then under the chain link fence, and into the yard, that it for sure would have eventually been killed by any number of predators. But a nature lover, can’t help but feel a little guilty as it’s certainly not a fun thing to witness. But in the words of my father, and since it was a starling fledgling, “there would be one less (insert expletive) bird” in the world. According to my father starlings are notorious for inserting their eggs into other birds nests since they are too lazy to raise them. Although a quick google search doesn’t show this, and I wonder if it’s a farmer’s predjudice against the birds since they are a bit destructive.