This time, my wife and I were out in the front of the house doing yard work. She looked down at the ground and asked, “Is that a bird?” I came closer and, sure enough, a baby bird struggled to turn itself over.
“Did it just fall?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered, "and it landed right next to my foot!"
I looked all over in the tree, but couldn’t find the nest. So we left the baby on the ground, to see if the parents might lead me to the nest.
And I marked the place, where the baby had landed, with a stone.
Soon the parents began flying in and out, taking turns feeding the little guy, while he still sat on the ground. Of course, there was no way we could leave him there, especially through the night.
The parents continued to feed him there until a chipmunk arrived to see what was going on. Every time he came too close, the parents chased him away. And we have a cat too.
What to do, what to do?
I decided to make a new nest, and see if the parents would accept it before completing my plan.
Taking a pot liner, and filling the bottom with grass, I headed around to the front again.
I had already put on a pair of rubber gloves so my scent wouldn’t be on the bird, the potliner, or the new grass inside.
I knelt down, placed the pot liner on its side, took a small stick, and rolled the baby inside. Immediately he opened his mouth and began yelling for food. Isn't that just like a new baby?
After placing the nest next to the stone, I went inside to see what the parents would do next.
They approached the new potliner nest with caution at first, then accepted it and began making their regular tips to find food and bring it back to their baby. Anyone know what kind of bird this is?
During each stage of the operation, the parents remained very close by as they watched what I did at every step. A few times, one of them stood only about five feet away. They didn’t yell at me, nor attack. It was almost as if they understood that I was trying to help in some way.
After it was clear that they had accepted the nest, and while they watched from nearby, I raised the pot liner up into a branch and secured it with wire.
Then it was back inside again to watch. Instantly they began flying to the nest’s new location, safe up in the tree, and now they have resumed feeding their little one as if he’d never fallen out of the tree in the first place.
PS. Update - Yes, Kathleen's husband is correct. I checked my bird book and these are Chipping Sparrows
Update on Friday, June 4 - I just went outside to take a quick look at the nest. As I lifted a mirror above the rim of the potliner, one of the parents rushed out. So it's clear that my rescued baby will survive.
Update - Saturday, June 5 - 6:52 AM - Went out to check the nest. Now I have to get a ladder in order to see over the top, and take a picture. As I climed up, and lifted the camera over the nest, again the mother fluttered out, and this is what I saw inside.
Update - Sunday, June 6 - 6:58 AM - So...last night, the wind roared, and torrential rain fell, as heavy storms rumbled through our area. You can imagine, I was pretty worried about the baby bird and his mother. Even though I'd wired their nest to the branch, and placed it under larger branches above, I still watched the place like a hawk. It seemed as if I peered out the window to check on it, every five minutes. Each time I aimed my flashlight out toward the pot liner, I felt relief, seeing that it hadn't blown away, or crashed to the ground below.
Like birds of a feather - which they are of course - the two must have stuck together as they rode out the storm because here's what I found this morning.
No adults were in the nest as I climbed my ladder, and they yelled at me this time as I took the picture. How quickly they forget : ))