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I am an artist painting in oil and watercolor. I work from my home based studio in Georgia.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tonight I am Just A Little Sad - My Baby Bird Story

About two weeks ago a couple of children from across my street came to my door and brought me a little box, within I saw a tiny frail young bird.

They told me it must have fallen out of its nest. They were cleaning up their yard and there was lots of activity including burning leaves.

It is nesting season and many birds just had their chicks.

Well after laying eyes on the little bird I could not turn it away. It seemed to be a Brown Thrasher, our State bird. I took it under my wings.

I made it a nice box, layered with straw and leaves and a couple of small branches, then I decided to make it a soft food consisting of tofu. My feeding devise would be a straw which I split and cut short to about two inches. It became a little trench in which I scooped the food.

My first feeding attempt of a little frail bird was an immediate success. She gobbled up the tofu and begged for more. In at the top and out of the bottom all at the same time. It's head was all mouth.

She must have been about 9 days old. She had feathers on her head, wings but still a pretty naked butt. She was ugly and cute at the same time.

She was not able to do much moving around just snuggled in to the nest I made it from straw and leaves.

I fed her about every 30 minutes or so, full time all day every day except night. Needless to say, she has been occupying my time full time. After two days she started to look very chipper. I added some sunflower seeds to the tofu. Used my mixer to mush it all up and added some water.

I also used a dropper and placed little drops of water on her beak. She really was taken by it all. As small as she was she was beaming with energy and impatience wanting to grow up.

When ever I approached her nest I made in a box, I sang a beeping song, the same every time.

After a while she began to know me and opened up her mouth W I D E whenever I came with my song and feeder.

After about 5 days we started to get more active, she started to flutter a bit. I took her out of the box and let her spread her little wings a bit a few times a day. She really was growing. I guided her a bit on showing her how to perch and stroked her breast to lift her up.

Each day I could just see the feathers fill in and her breast getting a bit bigger. She became more vocal, wanted to be out of the box. When it was a cold night I brought her inside.

I supervised her every day outside in my garden, and she sat or jumped around on my legs or on the ground or in her box. I am so in awe of this little bird. It's so frail but yet so strong. Her legs were wobbly and standing was hard at first. Each day she got stronger, her legs bigger, her eyes more aware, her behavior more demanding.

After about ten days we build a habitat in the way back of our property. We put up a small circle with a six foot reed fencing. The first day she spends in there, I was feeding her about every 3 hours. She really knows me well now and totally responds to my song.

At night she was put back in to a large box in a safe place away from any predators.

The 2nd day I placed her back in to the small circle habitat early morning, fed her and left. When I came about a couple of hours later... she was not in the circle anymore. She had flown out of the six foot fence. I knew she can fly at least that high.

I started to call for her and got an immediate response. Chirp... chirp... chirp.. Very loud coming from the bushes further back. It seemed almost past my property line beyond the fence.

I could not see her and find her.

Well I thought to myself... your on your own now, little girl. Fly and be safe.

I went back inside and was saddened. I felt lonely. I stood in my kitchen door a couple of hours later and heard a very familiar chirp... I looked up in to the tree and there it was again, that chirp. It was her, I knew it was her. The chirp came from about 30 feet high up in a pine tree, that is all the way on the other side of my house, opposite from where her habitat was and where I last heard her.

I called for her and saw her fluttering way up in the tree. I got my binoculars and yes indeed, there she was. I saw her fluffy body and stubby tail. How she flew up that thigh I don't know.

I did not want her on that side of the house since my cats roam the garden there. So I went to the other side, which is fenced off and safe and stood by her habitat and called her, chip chip chip chip... again and again..

I saw her flutter to the next tree a large branch that hangs over my roof. I kept calling and she flew over my head and landed on a tree very near and then she flew and landed right by my feet about five feet away. She came to me and I was glad, I felt wonderful, she recognized my song, my voice and flew all this distance to me.

I had her food with me and I fed her. She was hungry and ate four large bits. I picked her up and put her back in to the habitat and the next night she went back in to the box just for one more night. It was going to be cold again. I wanted to be safe and give her one more night to grow a bit stronger.

The next day she was back in to the habitat and I spend most of the day out there with her, leaving her off and on. In the afternoon she was fluttering and trying to get out. I took her, set her on my shoulder and off she went. She flew high in to the nearest tree. I watched her for a while, she sat and rested, tucked her head in to her wings and later fluttered around some more.

She was growing up. I was so glad and yet so sad.

She stayed out that night and I could not wait to go out there first thing in the morning to check on her. I stood in my usual place and called her with my song. I could hear her call, that was so distinct to me now. It took about five minutes and there she was. She flew out of a tree and landed nearby on a branch, looked at me and then again flew over my head to land on the ground. I fed her and showed her a bird bath I placed there. She took to it, drank, bathed and was a delight to watch.

We've been doing this for a few days now. I go and call her and she shows up sooner or later and I feed her. She started to take fewer and fewer bits. I saw her peck some ants. I am glad to see she is starting to feed herself.

Today in the morning I went out and she showed up as usual. She ate a bite but could not wait to fly off. I had a feeling she was going to leave now for good.

A few hours later I went to call her and I did not hear a call back, I called for her for about ten minutes but she never came... I went back five more times, but I haven't seen or heard her since morning.

I think she is emancipated. I know she found her kind... other Brown Thrashers, that are showing her the ropes. I am glad and so sad. What a treasure she is, I had her for a short time. Now she's out there, maybe some day flying over my head, dipping her wings. Saying “Thanks!” for saving my life.

Life is glorious and I am so lucky! What a great experience it was.

Tomorrow I will go out first thing in the morning and call for her... just in case.

I have some pictures and video and will put it all together and post it as soon as I can.

This is the first picture I took the day after the children brought her to me.

Here she is three days after I got her. She's so alert.

Another day or so and we can perch!

A couple of days later. She is about ready to fly!

Here she is hiding and blending in. Brown Thrashers are ground feeding birds mostly. They turn over leaves to find bugs. The fledgelings hide in the brush and leave the nest early because they are safer from predators. The Thrasher nest are only about five feet of the ground which makes them vulnerable.

Here I am feeding her. She flew off and came back for a bite when I called her.




Beatriz Kim said...

What a heart warming little story! It's like you had a fast-forward child rearing experience...everything happened in lightening speed and now you're having empty nest syndrome! It's quite crazy and beautiful!

Perhaps the little guy will come back for a visit!

Lovely story...thanks for sharing!

The New Monet said...

Yes Beatriz, Empty Nest Syndrome... only mine was in fast speed.
I thought the same thing.

I went to call her every day now since she finally flew off for good, and I see what seems a more mature looking Brown Thrasher in one of my Trees... I think it's her, but she is not responding to my call or coming very near.

It's like those poor parents that are wainting for their kids to call home but they rarely do.