Thursday, July 1, 2010

Baby Mockingbirds and How to Care For Them

I remember a time not long ago when a baby mocking bird came into my life and what an adorable little buggar he was.

Not knowing a single thing about mocking birds, heck I didn't even know he was a mocking bird until someone told me, I scoured the internet looking for enlightenment. I thought I would share a little bit of what I found.
The original post is here.

My hungry little man.

Verrrry hungry.

My tribute to the wonderful mocking bird. This is Percy and his little brother Lionel.

They are headed over to the shop soon.

The following is just some of the great information I've stumbled across on how to care for not only baby mocking birds but any baby bird you happen to come across.

Most babies are still under the watchful eye of their parents and are taken from them by people only trying to help. Unlike human babies, wild babies are not constantly watched by their parents and spend large amounts of time alone. (This is especially true of mammals.) In most cases, wild animal babies should be left alone. The following is what we recommend to do in specific situations. BABY BIRDS FLEDGLINGS People often see baby birds that are partially feathered sitting on the ground below a tree and automatically assume that they fell out of the nest and need to be helped. At this stage in a birds development, they are considered "fledglings".

Fledglings NORMALLY will jump or fall out of the nest. This is their "flight training" stage. The mother bird will then continue feeding the bird on the ground until the bird is able to fly (usually only takes a few days). Unless injured, these birds should be left where they are. Efforts should be made to keep cats, dogs, and curious children away from the bird so the mother can continue to feed it.
Cat or Dog Danger? If a dog or cat is threatening the baby animal, do not instantly bring the baby in. Rather, keep the pet restrained the short time the baby is there. However, if the animal has already been attacked or picked up by the family pet and is injured, please bring the baby in as soon as possible.

NESTLINGS Baby birds that are naked for the most part (featherless or feathers just starting to come in) are considered to be "nestlings". These birds stay in the nest and the parents come to feed them there. These babies, when found, are usually on the ground directly below the nest. This occurs either because the baby fell out, blew out (common after wind storms), or was "pushed" out by a sibling. One must realize that this last behavior is actually adaptive for some species. This way, only the strongest of the brood survive and go on to raise young themselves.

What to do if you find a nestling that is out of the nest: The best thing to do is to try to place the bird back in its nest if at all possible. If the nest cannot be reached for some reason, the following works very well. (This is also the procedure to use if you find the whole nest on the ground.)Make a "makeshift" nest out of a clean Cool-Whip container or margarine dish. Make holes in the bottom of it to allow for water drainage. Line the bowl with paper towels. Then tack the makeshift nest back up in the tree as close to the original nest as possible. Finally, place the baby bird(s) into this and leave. The parents will usually come back in a short time and will feed the babies in it just like it was the original nest. (Often, you will see the mother going back and forth between each "nest", feeding both sets of babies.) The only time we recommend bringing the baby birds in is if you KNOW that the mother is dead or if the babies are injured in any way. The natural parents do a much better job at raising their young than we could ever do. A baby bird that is featherless must be fed every 15-20 minutes from about sunrise to 10 pm! This obviously requires a large time committment on the part of the foster parent. What if I already touched the birds, the mother won't come back, will she? People often believe this to be true and therefore think they need to keep the babies. This is simply NOT TRUE and is just an old wives tale. Birds in general have a very poor sense of smell (vultures are one exception) and will not mind the fact that you have handled them (but will be bothered by your presence by the babies).
If you do find a REAL orphan or injured baby bird, please do the following: Get it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator AS SOON AS POSSIBLE; the longer the delay, the less chance it has of surviving Keep the baby bird WARM and in a quiet, dark place until you can bring it in (a small cardboard box works well) DO NOT give the baby bird any liquids (they get all they need from their food and very often will inhale any liquid)

What I found for hand feeding my little man worked quite well and was easily available if you have a pet store near by. It's made by Kaytee and is formulated specifically for hand feeding baby birds. I got mine at Petsmart.


helen ... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
helen ... said...

oh, it 's so cute, he was really very hangry heeee, it 's so nice of you to take care of him, he is really safe with you =),i am looking forward to see new pics of him =)

Linda said...

Brilliant advice, hes so lucky you found him, love your mocking birds. Linda :)

Anonymous said...

Good article. For the makeshift nest, some important points:
* Deep enough to vent jumping out. Baby birds can jump! I advise at least a foot deep, so Cool Whip containers too small.

* Drainage! tons of holes. Don't want him to drown.