Feeding Wild Baby Birds
Feeding wild baby birds is almost as much trouble as the human variety, and no one should keep them who is not willing to take infinite pains.
There are hard-billed baby birds and soft-billed baby birds, and the latter are rather more delicate.
The hard-billed birds, include the finches, sparrows, and any birds that break seed.
The soft-billed are those that eat chiefly insects and fruit.
In feeding wild baby birds it is important that they get their meals with regularity and with each meal a drink of water.
The lack of water may well be responsible for so many deaths, especially when the birds are very young.
For regular diet during the first two weeks or so feed with mashed boiled potato thoroughly mixed with the yolk of hard boiled eggs. It should be made fresh every day. A small smooth stick, such as a popsickle stick, may be used for a spoon.
After each meal it should be dipped into water and a few drops put into the bird's mouth; every hour this performance takes place, from six in the morning till nearly dark.
The next article of diet should be ants' eggs, mixed with the potato and eggs — a little at first, and gradually increasing the amount. Finally, with hard-billed birds, seed may be given as soon as the bill is hard enough, though at first it is sometimes necessary to crack the seed before giving it.
Birds must be watched carefully to see that their food agrees with them; if such is not the case, it is probable that the food does not suit them, and a change should be made immediately.
Try to replicate the texture of the nest. The reason for this is that some birds require greater development of the leg muscles than others, and when quite young they keep their feet in constant motion, grasping the small twigs that form the inside of the nest; in this way they develop and strengthen the necessary muscles of the leg.
When unnatural conditions have prevented this exercise, birds can become partly paralysed and die.
Nature is very wise in regard to her children, and you will do well to follow her example whenever you are at a loss.
At night the cage should always be covered, otherwise the
birds wake at amazingly early hours; and their waking means they must be fed. It is not always pleasant to have to get up at daylight to minister to their wants.
Anyone who has tried to feed wild baby birds, very quickly gains an appreciation for the demands of the mother and father birds.
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