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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!


  1. You know where she is now Lesley so that if you have anymore wildlife emergencies you can get in touch. It's best to talk to people that have first hand knowledge of these things as many other people read and see so much these days that they have advice and opinions but don't really know.
    I'm sure FAT Jack will be fine......i just hope the other little sparrows don't call him names when they see how big he has grown. You know how unkind young sparrows can be.

  2. Sorry Lesley dear, I was going to comment earlier but did not have the time. I am pleased that you got in touch with Hilda, many baby and injured birds are rescued here by WIRES (Wildlife Intensive Rescue and Emergency Service) and they are released into either the area where they were found or a special, quiet wildlife area. I'm sure little Jack Sparrow will be fine with all the love and care you have given him, I know you will miss him, he may even come back and visit one day, they don't forget completely.
    xoxoxo ♡

  3. Our internet has been down for a few days so I was soooooo pleased to read your little sparrow has survived...well done you:)) Hilda sounds like a really useful contact which helps so much in these situations especially with the tricky release bit.

  4. Hi Johnny. It's ironic to think I phoned wildlife centres as far away as Somerset only to end up with Hilda's phone number, which I already had! lol Hilda is the lady I got Crystal (our female cockatiel) from when Emily died. I don't know why I didn't think to consult Hilda first as you're right about her having so much first-hand experience. Sometimes I just panic before thinking at all! :O)

    Hi Dianne. WIRES sounds like a good service. We have wildlife rehabilitation centres in the u.k., but only in some parts of the country and, unfortunately, most of them are in the south of England and we are in the north. It's a sparse service and a lot of help comes from individual volunteers.

    Hi Helen. He's doing great Helen. :D Yes, I'm thinking now that feeding him from 5 a.m. till 9 p.m. every half hour is the easy bit. His release will be in the lap of the gods..... thank goodness for Hilda's help and support. :D

  5. p.s. If he gets called names or gets bullied, I'll put on my Orville suit and beat them up! :O)

  6. Bless your heart...

    Thank goodness for the people who run these wildlife rescue operations...and for people like you!

    When I was a little girl, we fostered three baby birds whose mother had been killed. Those birds successfully made the transition from indoor pets to outdoor birds. We fed them moistened dog food...and for months afterwards, they would come every day for their supper! eventually, they weaned themselves of the dog food and were off completely on their own.

    You're doing good.

  7. That's reassuring, Ethelmae. :) The sooner he's out leading a natural life, the better..... and I don't think it's going to be very long at the rate he's developing. :D

  8. Good old Hilda.
    How are the Cockatiels doing???

    I'm laughing my head off here as when i went to post my comment the word i had to type was "pants"

  9. And pants to you too sir! :O) lol

    Edmund and Crystal are fine Johnny. Crytal's a lot more inquisitive than Emily ever was. She's into everything. I've had to strip the wallpaper off the walls as she eats it.... and I daren't leave any of my books lying around or she makes pretty patterns round the edges. Lots of cleaning up to do as well!