Friday, September 18, 2015

Baby Bird Rescue

By: Levena Lindahl

            A couple of weeks ago, there was a really bad storm where I live.  Trees lost limbs, there were some power outages, the whole works.  (And, of course, downtown Charleston flooded, but that happens when the humidity gets too high.)

            I convinced my husband to go on a walk with me the next morning, to see how things looked in our area.  There were a lot of branches down, but nothing too major, so we headed out towards the library near our house.  About halfway there I heard a noise that sounded a lot like a rusty gate, or a rusty swing chain.  I stopped and looked down and saw a baby bird on the sidewalk, clearly unhappy.

            I could see remnants of a nest nearby, and it wasn’t hard to figure out what had happened.   Zac and I retreated a safe distance away and waited and watched to see if its mother would come back; it was crying out with increasing insistence.  After an hour, when no one showed up, we scooped up the baby and brought it home.  (As a note, had the parent returned, we would have just moved the baby from the sidewalk so it could have been in the shade.  If at all possible PLEASE return fallen baby birds to their nest and their parents! )

Meet Rescue Bird!  We called her Sage.

            When we returned home, we made a small nest box with old towels and some leftover fabric to keep the baby warm and cuddly.  I called an animal sanctuary for instructions on what to do, and was informed as to how to feed and care for the baby until she could be picked up for rehabilitation and reintroduction to the wild.  While I was on the phone, Zac ran to the store to get some nesting fluff, a dropper, and food for the bird. 

            Bird parents work hard, because baby birds like to eat a LOT.  As in, every hour or two hours, and they will announce their demands with a louder chirp that you would not think possible from such a tiny creature.  While I am still not sure what Sage was, some sort of finch perhaps, or a sparrow, she had some lungs on her.

“I demand you feed me!”

            We had Sage for about a week before she was taken by the local wildlife rescue.  We fed her, kept her clean and made sure she was warm during that time, and got to see her fluff up and perch for the first time.  I am really glad we took that walk that day, as it is unlikely Sage would have survived on the sidewalk in 90 degree weather.  I am glad to know that she is out there somewhere, flying and making that rusty chain noise. 

            If you find a baby bird, here is what you should know.  If you can, please try to re-nest them.  Their parents will still take care of them, never mind that old wives tale about human smell and abandoned babies as it isn’t true.  Call the local animal rescue to find out how to get the baby to people who can rehabilitate it.  If you are going to care for the baby until they can be picked up, bear in mind it is a LOT of work!  They need to be fed frequently with a special food, and they need to be kept clean and warm.  However, it is pretty rewarding knowing you saved a creature’s life.  Also, if you can, try and support your local animal sanctuaries!  They do an awful lot of work caring for all kinds of animals, and any kind of donation or volunteering is a big help.


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