Life is now completely controlled by our wild bird babies. They wake up between 7-7:30 and we put them to bed at 7-7:30 at night. In between, it is all about them. I could not do this forever, but I can work through these six birds until they are ready to be on their own. I’m currently hoping to release them together but we’ll have to see how that goes. The youngest and oldest birds are likely at least two weeks apart.
I’ve been letting them stretch their wings on the lanai and enjoying them discover life and listen to the bird sounds in the yard. The older blue jay is particularly interested in what it hears, especially the crow. The youngest mockingbird continues to be the craziest bird we have. I was watching him this afternoon and he would fall asleep, cheap, and wake himself up. He can’t stop cheeping. I’m wondering if the other five birds are going to do him in because he won’t shut up. He always wants food, but if he’s full, he spits it out when you give it to him. I can’t help but think he was kicked out of the nest for a reason. But, I am convinced he will liver a long time because he is ornery and will survive.
In the following video, the oldest blue jay is taking its first bath. And, the little crazy mockingbird makes its appearance.
There are many bird sounds in the yard that indicate there are young birds out there. The picture below shows a parent with its young in our crepe myrtle. I think its a finch but I am not entirely sure.
We saw a momma deer out back the other night. She had a bulging side which led us to believe she might be giving birth soon.
I included a couple pictures I recently took while doing our weekly bird count at the Alligator Farm. The Alligator Farm has been closed to the public for a while because of Covid 19, so the only people in the park are the caretakers. The small group of us that count the birds continued to do so since it is outside and there are few people around. I usually bring my camera to take pictures of any banded birds we see. I’m there to count, not take photographs. But, last Tuesday I couldn’t resist getting a few pictures.
Update on the baby birds: I had to take one of the blue jays back to the Ark today because it was ill and I was unable to feed it. I only got the bird yesterday but I was never able to get it to take food. Someone with the appropriate skills will see if something can be done for the little one.
After returning the bird, I took all my remaining six birds out onto the lanai. I gave them the freedom to roam the lanai and I read a book all day in between watching them. I was fascinated by their behavior. Every bird has its own personality.
The grackle mostly crouches down on the bottom of the cage, so I hoped having some space would perk it up and it did. It stretched its wings and wandered about. I put out a porcelain pie plate filled with water. The bird went to the plate, drank water, took a bath, sunbathed, then groomed itself. He was beautiful afterward, even without all his feathers. It was a joy to watch him.
The older blue jay has some flight capability and it took advantage of the freedom to fly around. I was a little concerned that I would have a hard time getting it back and I would have to chase it around the lanai. There was no need to worry. After we sat out there for awhile, the bird flew to my shoulder and opened its mouth for food.
I decided to let the little ones out later in the day and opened their cage door. Only the youngest mockingbird came out. That little bird never stopped running around, jumping, and stretching its wings. When it was hungry, it came to me and let me know. If I started feeding the other birds, it came to me to get fed too. Sometimes it spits the food back out, but I think it does that when its full. The other three birds stayed in their cage all day and slept while the crazy one ran around all afternoon. When I got up to feed them, one or more would pop out to be fed and then return to the cage when finished.
I was too busy enjoying them between pages in the book to think about capturing the moments on video. Perhaps I can remember to do that tomorrow.
Regis has been stalking the alligators taking pictures and captured this picture of a dragonfly hitching a ride on an alligator.
In the meantime, I have picked up more baby birds to raise. I had to return one of the blue jays because it clearly had a health issue that I was not qualified to handle. It is being evaluated by a vet. Many baby birds that arrive at rescue facilities have issues that may not be possible to resolve.
When I returned the one blue jay, I came back with another two more blue jays and two more mockingbirds. Hmmmm. Am I crazy or what?
My little cardinal appeared nearly ready to release. But, it wasn’t eating well on its own. I was reluctant to let it go until I knew it was eating well. I put it out on the lanai this afternoon for a soft release. I wanted it to get used to being outside. I let Dart out back and left the door open for him to return while I went in the house to do something. The little cardinal was cheeping constantly. When I came back, an adult cardinal was in the lanai. My neighbor told me that they had cardinals nesting out back, so I wondered if the cheeping caused one of the parents to come feed the chick. Instead of waiting, I released the little cardinal hoping that the adults would take over from here. I may never be sure whether it worked, but I know that Regis and I heard two birds cheeping behind our house and saw the male parent going to our feeder and then into the brush. I saw the female cardinal going back and forth, but she was not getting her food from the feeder. I’m hopeful this little bird was able to fit in with the family.
Once I started feeding baby birds, I have had no other life. Everything is wrapped around feeding and cleaning and feeding and cleaning and worrying whether you are getting it right.
I highly recommend that when people find baby birds, they leave them for there parents to care for. Their parents know best. I know my sponsor at the rescue facility was taking care of 18 baby birds about a week ago. I could not handle that many birds. Right now I have 7, which is over my limit, but I hope to release the older blue jay very soon. I think the red-winged black bird will not be far behind.
I released the little chickadee this morning. The little bird was flying all over the cage. I’m worried it won’t know how to eat on its own but I can’t show it that part. Baby birds are better off raised by their parents, but we humans do what we can to give them a start and hope they make it. This little bird made it this far. We are in a good location for it.
The other two birds are currently thriving. I’m looking forward to the smallest bird growing up enough to identify it. See the video below. It has very long legs and is puts its entire body into the effort of yelling.
I pick up more birds tomorrow.
I occasionally volunteer with a local wildlife rescue and rehabilitation (The Ark). I recently learned how to care for baby birds and brought three of them home on Friday to raise until they can be released. I have a chickadee a week away from release, a young mockingbird, and another bird that is so young and small we don’t know what it is. They must be fed every 90 minutes. Being home now, I didn’t think that would be an issue. I have discovered how quickly 90 minutes goes by. I’ve had to run out and get a couple items and most places I go are a 30 minute drive out and then 30 minutes back. So, I have to time it so I do it right after a feeding so I am back in time for the next feeding.
I’ve only had these little rascals for a day and a half and I am amused at how they have changed our life. They start yelling within 15 minutes of feeding time. If we move around them any time after a half hour from the last feeding, they start screaming for food. When I feed them and they are full, they poop, and promptly go to sleep.
The little mockingbird is a character. It is hungry and assertive. It keeps company in a homemade nest with the smallest bird and they keep each other warm. I would have thought it would not be a good idea to put a bigger, more aggressive bird with a little one, but it is working out nicely. Perhaps it is because everyone is amply fed.
Following is a video from the first day. They are already growing fast, so we will post some more videos showing the craziness of feeding.
Regis and I like to explore the wildlife happenings along our 3/4 mile street. You never know what you are going to find. Regis focused on alligators today. I was fortunate enough to see about 100 cedar waxwings perched in a tree. They are usually skittish and I can never get very close, but I moved carefully today and was able to get some nice photos.
We took the time recently to revise our first book. It now has over 100 photographs, a map of the trip, and significantly streamlined text. It is available on amazon as an electronic book ($4.99 or free on kindle unlimited) or color paperback ($25).
Yesterday, I was watching a photography webinar and noticed some birds in the marsh behind the house in the beautiful light of the sun beginning to set. I suppose I should have been paying attention to the screen but that can be hard to do when their is so much nature to be viewed through the window. I left the webinar on photographing wildlife and went out to photograph wildlife. There was a small flock of willets resting and then I noticed two racoons in the marsh actively looking for food.