Thursday, July 31, 2014

How I saved a baby bird!

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On July 19th I walked out my front door to go get something out of my truck when I saw something on the walk way. I could tell it was an animal, I thought maybe a dead lizard hauled in by my cat but upon closer examination it was a baby bird! Which I also thought was dead as it wasn't moving and had ants crawling all over. So I was going to sweep it into the bushes, but when I scooped it up with one of my daughters toy plates it moved! And of course my heart just about crumbled into pieces! I couldn't just leave it to die.

So I bought it into my office, cut the top off a tissue box, got some leaves from outside and made a nest. I put the baby bird inside, whom I named Kekoa, which mean "the brave one" in Hawaiian, so I thought that was fitting. Then I got to work doing research, I found out he (I don't really know if it's a boy, in fact you can't tell till they are juvenile, so I've just decided he is.) anyway thanks to the website Raising Orphaned Wild Baby Birds I got all the info I needed on what and how to feed him and how to take care of him.

He's a house House Sparrow, pretty popular bird, which is funny because until now I would have never notice that they are every where! They are the birds that made nest in your eves. They are what's known as build birds, because they almost always make there nest in the sides of building. They are so common that we don't even notice them, hey that little bird bouncing along picking up crumbs as you feed the ducks probably a house sparrow. They are in a Sparrow category all of their own! Anyway, Kekoa was a whooping 11 grams which put him some where around 2 day's old accounting to this growth chart anyway.

So here is the food the website said to feed him:

The first one is a live meal worms cut into pieces. Baby birds can't eat the whole meal worm. The second one is ground up hard boil eggs with the shell and a bit of water to make them mushy. The site said to put it in an ice tray that way you could take out just the ration you need. The last one is kitten chow softened with water. This one stinks when you heat it up just FYI, but it's high in nutrients for the little tweeter.

They also said to help keep the temp right for the baby by putting a heating pad under the nest and to put a thermometer in the nest to make sure it's not to hot or cold. So I got one that wont bother him but I can always see it.  

 Day 2 

We had a busy day and I knew we weren't going to be gone all day, so I took him with us so I could care for him and feed him. He did great. I had just fed him, so he had a messy face in this picture.

 Day 3 

He started lookin much better by day 3. Started opening his eyes more and his feedings were becoming pretty regular. 

I figured out where his nest is and that he has siblings, I can hear them chirping like crazy! And guess who I found... mama! I can see her from my office window tirelessly flying back and forth bringing food to the other babies. I wish there was a way I could tell her this little guy is alright and in good hands, but what can you do. 

A few people on Facebook asked me why I didn't just put him back in the nest once I found it. So here was my answer... Putting him back presents quite a number of challenges, for many reasons.

1. I stood on our 10 foot ladder, on the very top step, on my tippy tippy tippy toes clinging to the beam you see mama perched on in the picture and all I could see is the opening of the nest that is about as big as your pointer finger and thumb pinched together to make a circle. So it's at least a 15 to 20 foot drop from where mama is perched and the nest hole opening is about as big as a half dollar. 

2. That being said, if she did reject him and he fell again, I doubt he could sustain a second fall. 

3. That being said, he already has injuries at this point like internal bruising (that has already gotta better since I started taking care of him) and a small puncture wound on his left thigh bone from it stabbing out. No broken bones that I can tell. Just some major swelling. 

4. I don't even think I could position myself safely to get him back into the nest, unless I got on my roof. 

Sooooooo  I think its better for both of us if I just keep taking care of him. And from the sound of how many chirps I hear coming out of that nest, I'm doing mama a favor!

 Day 4

Okay so I've officially lost my mind and Kekoa has become one of my children. I gave him a shower today. I got one of my girls bowls and their soft wash clothes and bathed him while I took a shower. He loved it! I noticed these neat little feather coming in on his belly all white and down the sides. Everyday there are new changes!

 Day 5

He's just plugging right along. Got some new feather on his wings today. It's amazing how fast they grow!

 Day 6

He's really loving those meal worms! And man oh man is he gettin feathers like crazy. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I talk him like one of my kids when I'm feeding him. I say things like "Open your mouth silly" and "You're gettin it all over your face!" But he really is doing well. I mean I'm surprised he's made it this long!

 Day 7

Well he officially has a little home of him own now! With his own nest and all the fixings. I mean I still have to feed him by hand but he's no longer living in a tissue box! I have a cover for him and everything. And just in time too, we have our yearly camping trip coming this weekend and guess who had to come with us!

 Day 8

It's a long drive to Bass Lake from where we are, nearly 4 1/2 hours. But he was a champ, he did better than the kids in fact! Just kept him at my feet in his cage and fed him in my lap, he was happy as could be. Here he just ate and he's ready for a nap.

❤ Day 10

I realize I missed a couple days but there was a moment there I really thought things had taken a turn for the worse. I thought I had made I huge mistake bring him camping with us, which I was already nervous about anyway. The first day there (the 27th) we rented a boat and we're away from camp most of the day. I was worried about my little guy all day, I got a chance in the middle of the day to go back to check on him and he seemed fine. I fed him and went back out. I left meal worms in the cage hoping he would figure out how to catch them and eat them himself. 

When we came back later at night I was feeding him, checking out and noticed these huge bubbles all over the right side of his under body, almost like blisters. I was freaking out, crying, just losing it; it must have been to warm for him in the tent, despite not having the cover on. Once I calmed down I Goggled it, like I do everything and found out it's what's called "AIR SACS BURST" and thanks a site called Wild Bird Rehab Haven which was one of many that I came across but this one was the easy to understand, I found out exactly how to care for these little bubbles and they were gone within 24 hours. I also found out these bubbles are not uncommon in baby birds when they fall out of the nest.

So here he is on day 10, on the beach, all healed AND perching!

❤ Day 12

Got home from camping today, so naturally I wanted clean out Kekoa's cage and get him reset up in my office so he could calm down from our trip. I open up the office blinds and windows to let in light and fresh air and go out front to collect fresh leaves and branches. Guess who I see learning to fly... Kekoa's siblings! They have left the nest and his mama was out looking over them. She will continue to feed them, but they were hop and flying, well more like stumbling from branch to gate to ground and every where in between. It was so cute to watch them though! 

So naturally I wanted to see what they would do if they heard Kekoa. So I set him on the window sill inside my office and this little bird family went crazy! Mama even came right over to see him!

As if my friends aren't already calling me the bird lady, this happens... In the mist of all this excitement, at least for me, cause Kekoa didn't seem the least bit amusement by any of it, he just wanted him cage put back together and the worms in him mouth. Well unknown to me, my cat was lurking near by, watching all the action, just waiting for the perfect moment to snatch one of these fresh flying fledglings. And then it happened, one of Kekoa siblings came plunging toward the ground, just as she did my cat jumped and.... snatch!!!

I watched to whole thing, started screaming and banging on the window. I swung open my office door, my husband had came running to see what happened and accompanied me outside, the cat had already run off with the bird. But I saw her tail around the corner of the house. I ran over there, she didn't have the bird, but she was batting at the bushes, so I got her away, found the baby bird, brought her inside and cleaned her up.

This is Ahuaha, Kekoa's sister. (Yes I decided this one is a girl) She has a pretty bad puncher wound from the cat but no broken bones far as I can tell. Now I know they say a cat's bite cat be deadly to bird just from the bacteria alone so I cleaned it out real good with hydrogen peroxide and an antibacterial hand sanitizer. Will it work? I really don't know, just because I was able to save Kekoa doesn't make me a vet. I just hate seeing hurt animals and I try to do what I can to help them. I have them in separate cages right now so Kekoa doesn't hurt her anymore and she can rest.

Thanks for sharing another adventure with me!
Stay safe, stay sane and stay absolutely splendid!

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