Feeding Abandoned Baby Birds
Occasionally some care must be given to feeding abandoned baby birds who have fallen out of the nest - either to protect them from cats or to furnish them with food.
In many cases, however, one will find young birds just learning to fly and unable to escape the clutches of the cat. This is one of the most critical periods in the life of the nestlings.
In such cases as these, it is necessary to protect the birds for a few days till they can fly, but in such a way that they can still be fed by the parents.
The following are two suggestions that readers have written in and have had success with. A note of caution, success is not guaranteed.
1. Catch the young birds and put them into a clean barrel standing in the shade of a tree near enough to the house to be easily watched.
Leave it open at the top and put in food and a shallow dish of fresh water with the young birds.
The parents will soon find and feed them,and when they are able to fly upwards and out of the barrel, they will take care of themselves.
They must be watched by day and securely covered at night until they are strong enough to fly out of their place of refuge."
If, however, the parents do not come to the barrel, the young should be fed about once an hour till the adult birds do resume their duties.
2. Another means of protecting the young birds is to place them in a cage with cloth over the top, and suspend it in a tree near the nest.
The parents may then come and feed the fledglings through the bars. They should be kept in the cage a few days till their wings are stronger, and then released.
But they should be watched and fed till the parents do come to the cage, so that if deserted they may be reared by hand. If the weather is cold or stormy, the cage should be taken down and put in a warm place during the night.
In catching the young bird special caution should be taken not to frighten it. It is better to wait till the parents have ceased their cries of alarm and have departed for food, before attempting to take the young bird.
One should approach slowly and lift the bird gently without any suggestion of grabbing. It will be useless to return the bird to its nest, but some plan such as previously suggested must be tried.
Kind of Food
While even in cases of this kind it may be necessary to feed the abandoned baby birds for a little while, instances will sometimes occur with wounded or deserted birds in which they must be fed entirely by hand till they are able to care for themselves.
Meal-worms, sold at bird stores, are the best food for insectivorous birds. Nearly all birds will eat grasshoppers and hairless caterpillars. Robins are fond of earthworms, and these will be eaten also by many other birds.
Spiders seem to have a stimulating effect on the young birds. Finely chewed nuts will also be relished.
While feeding abandoned baby birds, one must remember that they cannot pick up food for themselves, but it must be placed in their mouths, and they should be fed about once an hour during the hours of daylight.
It may take several days of feeding abandoned baby birds before they learn to feed themselves.
Video of feeding wild baby birds.
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