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Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Hey, whatcher lookin' at?!"

We anticipate the little fella will be leaving us within a week or two.  He's been pecking at the bottom of the cage - whether he's actually been pecking up seeds or not, I'm not sure, because as soon as I turn to look at him he freezes, stops what he's doing,  and studies me as closely as I'm studying him!  But he's on the right track.  He's also beginning to exercise his wing feathers, so that's promising.  I put the cardboard inner tube of a kitchen roll inside his cage and he's sheltered in there now..... yet he seems to know when he needs food and makes himself conspicuous.  Whoever coined the phrase 'bird brain' was so wrong!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Too late for rehabilitation?

Little Jack's chances of survival are looking good, so I've been thinking about how I go about rehabilitating him back into the wild.  After googling it, some people say that it can't be done as the bird will have become imprinted on the human carer and wont be able to care for itself or socially interact with its own species.  At this point, I am beginning to slightly panic.  Others say it can be done, with great care and correct timing.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I'm going to put him outside in a clear container so he can see the outdoors and hear natural sounds. I'll bring him indoors at night.  Thankfully, I haven't been handling him much.  I haven't even lifted him from the box to feed him, but reached down towards him with the food.  I will have to try hard to resist the urge to keep peering inside his box.

I also have the telephone number of a wildlife organisation which I'll 'phone tomorrow to ask their advice.  If anyone else has any advice, I would be glad to hear from you. 

Update 26th July
I rang the telephone number I had for a wildlife centre only to get an answephone message that they were closed for two weeks due to illness.  So I googled for wildlife rehabilitation centres and telephoned an RSPCA one for advice.  They gave me a contact number for Durham, who in turn gave me Hilda's phone number!  Hilda is the Mrs. Doolittle of the North and lives only a few streets away from us.  

Anyway, I explained the situation to Hilda and told her how worried I was about little Jack possibly not being able to be rehabilitated into the wild.  She told me that, once they're in the outdoors, they will recognise their own species and soon forget their early encounter with humans and that he would have as good a chance as any other baby bird - possibly better considering the regular feeding he's been getting.  I told her what I've been feeding him on and she said that sounded fine, but to reduce his feeds to hourly instead of half-hourly.  I have to encourage him to peck at seeds by dropping them in front of him and attracting his attention to the seed.  Once he is able to peck food for himself, then that is the time for him to go.  Hilda says she'll help me with that.  There's a wildlife area at the nearby allotments, away from lots of people, but close to a number of bird feeders, so it will be a relatively safe place to conduct his release when the time comes.  I feel a lot better now since speaking to Hilda and, since she has raised and released many young animals and birds, I have faith in her.  Once again, why didn't I go to Hilda first!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just checking in to let you all know that........

.......... little Jack Sparrow is doing well.  That's not birdie poo in the photo, by the way.... it's baby food and has since been removed. :)  I think he wanted a lie in this morning.  I got up ready to start feeding him at 5 a.m., but he wouldn't accept anything till about 6 a.m.  He gave me scare.  I thought, "Oh no, the beginning of the end."  It was such a relief when he began tucking into his breakfast shortly after.  He's also been taking very small amounts of water off the end of my finger.  His menu today is:  baby porridge, baby Sunday dinner, soaked dog biscuit, crumbled up suet pellets and a small amount of seed.  Thank goodness for my wooden manicure stick.  It's the perfect implement for 'spoon feeding' tiny sparrows.  This is his fourth day with us - I'm just beginning to dare to hope.......

Friday, July 22, 2011

Not about sparrows this time. :D

I took some photographs today just to prove that I have actually been doing some gardening over the past few months!

 Our resident duck

The apple tree ~ its first year. 
I don't really like those perennial cornflowers.  They were already there and I intended removing them until I saw a pair of goldfinches return to them time and time again for the seeds.  

Bob peering through the front gate, one of his favourite past-times

Benji participating in his second favourite past-time, sleeping.  His first is eating.  Hubby's in the photo too.  Can you see him?

Always blessed with fairies!

There are strawberries in there somewhere!

Bob being handsome

Bob being extra-handsome!

Come on in
Look, hubby's managed to get himself in the picture again!

It took a long time for me to settle in this house, but I'm glad to say that it now feels like home and we're happier here than ever.

p.s. I didn't take any photographs out the back because the grass needs cut! :O)

p.p.s.  Couldn't resist a small update.  Saturday, 23rd July ~ eating well and gaining strength

Update on baby sparrow

Well, so far so good.  First of all, I understand everyone's concern about not interfering with nature.  I believe in leaving baby birds for their parents to care for, but....... (there's always a but!)....... in this case, this little nestling was too young to be out of the nest and I thought that, even if its parents did find it and continue to feed it on the ground, it was too fragile to survive the drop in temperature through the night without the body heat of its siblings.  So I've got it in a little box filled with lots of pieces of ripped up kitchen roll, and the box is on top of a hot water bottle.  I've been feeding it every half-hour (since 4.30 a.m.!) and I'm glad to say that its feeding well and seems to be a strong little thing.  I found this website with lots of good advice on caring for baby birds.  I realise that if it does survive its ordeal and gets stronger, it will be totally dependent on me for another two to three weeks.  I really hope that it's not too long before we're releasing it back into the wild where it belongs.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What to do? Urgent advice needed please!

It's happened again.  Yet another nestling has fallen out the nest from under the eaves of the roof.  Luckily it is still alive, as we created a softer landing stage for them and amazingly it worked.  I spotted the tiny bird shuffling about amongst the grass and cuttings.  Now what to do?  I'm in a quandry.  I googled caring for nestlings that have fallen out their nest and some people say that you should make a makeshift nest in a box and tie iton a tree or somewhere near to the nest, so that the parents will know it is there and continue to feed it.  But what if the parents don't see it?  What if they're too busy feeding the ones in the nest to notice the missing one?

I've already given it a tiny drop of water and sugar, placed on the outside of its beak and it accepted that.  I have baby food I can feed it too.  I know it would need feeding ever half-an-hour up until dark and then from sunrise in the morning.  No easy task, but I'm prepared to do it if I have to.  So what do I do...... place it in a box directly under the nest and risk the parents not finding it..... or do I try my best to care for it myself?  Any advice would be gratefully welcome.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I don't understand......

I don't understand why house sparrows have to nest so high up.  They're nesting under the eaves of our roof and on most days, I find a dead or badly injured baby bird on the ground below.  As a fledgling cannot yet fly properly, the first venture from the nest is going to be fatal when the nest is situated at such a height.  Why do they do it?  I'm getting so upset and angry that it's happening.  I feel like buying a few kiddie's trampolines and placing them directly below where the nests are..... or breaking up the concrete path with a mallet, getting rid of it and replacing it with grass to cushion their fall.  Hubby said when the nesting season is over, he'll seal up the space so they can't nest there next Spring...... till then, there's going to be some more fatalities. :(  Does anyone have a rough idea when we would be safe to do this?