Thursday, June 03, 2010

Amazing Bird Story With Pictures

Today I had another amazing bird adventure.

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.

I intend to update with a new picture each day. Just don't want to upset the mother too much.

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.

The pot liner I chose has holes in the bottom, so, even if some of the rain invaded their temporary home, the baby and his mother weren't in danger of drowning. Because I built it, that nest was for the birds anyway. What do I know about building a bird's nest? I was just wingin' it.

I thought about the mother, and hoped the thunder and lightning wouldn't egg her on until she flew the coop. After all, these are my peeps. And the small guy, what must have been going through his little bird brain as he experienced his first thunderstorm? He was out there, in the dark, taking his first birdbath, too...a shower really.

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 : ))

Update - Monday, June 7 - 9:56 AM - Sad end to an otherwise fun story.

It's been pretty cold the past two nights, and we've had heavy rain. I had another commitment this morning, so I was a little late taking the next picture in the sequence for this story. As I prepared to post it, I noticed that the bird was in the exact position in today's picture as yesterday morning, there had been no development of his feathers, and the parents didn't come around like before.

I went back outside, climbed up the ladder, and looked inside. Then I nudged the bird with a stick. He didn't move.

At least I didn't run over him with my lawnmower, and our cat didn't get to him. But I would love to have seen him fully develop, and fly away. 

Maybe next time.  : ((


Kathleen Rouser said...

Hi Max! Great story about the bird rescue.
I hope he gets all healed up and does well.
My husband is quite the bird watcher and he
believes that the bird is a chipping sparrow.
Looking at the picture in the bird book we
have, I would agree!

max said...

Thank you Kathleen.

I have a bird book, too, but haven't had time to check it yet.

Elece Hollis said...

Hi Max, It is a chipping,not a chirping)sparrow, judging by the rusty cap and black eyeline. The sparrows almost all nest on the ground in little hollows in high grasses. You might have uncovered a "nest" while mowing. Nice photos.I'll show my grandsons.

max said...

Thank you for the correction,
Elece, I've made the change.

James D. Maxon said...

Nice story, thanks for sharing :-)

Deb said...

Sweet story. I agree that it's a chipping sparrow. I checked my bird book. You can tell by the rusty cap, the white band beneath it and the black band near his eyes. The photos and your story brightened my day!

max said...

Appreciate it, James. Thank you.

max said...

Thank you, Deb. The little guy is still doing well.

MoziEsmé said...

What a sweet adventure!

Queen Jaw Jaw said...

I can't wait for my two grandbeauties to come over so I can share this with them. They're are tender-hearted as you and your wife (God love you) and so they will love the happy ending. Thanks for sharing. I will stop by often.

Brenna said...

What fun pictures with your adventure! Thanks for sharing~ my kids loved seeing it.

Grace said...

Thanks for sharing your little adventure with the baby bird. Reminds me of when i was a kid. My older sister and the twins found a baby crow that had fallen from the nest. They brought the baby home and we raised it to adult hood. Although I wasn't any more than ten years old at the time, I still remember the adventures we had with the baby. We named her Smokey. She was mischievous and liked stealing bright objects and vegetables from the garden. We might have taken pictures of her (if cameras had been invented then), but it was so ling ago the pictures likely don't exist anymore.

max said...

Thank you, MoziEsmé. So far, all is well.

max said...

Glad your kids liked the pictures, Brenna. So did mine, and they're all grown up.

max said...

Grace, I loved the crow story. I had a couple of squirrels when I was a kid. Then there was that incident with baby rabbits, but I won't go into that.

max said...

Enjoying all the nice comments.

max said...

Thank you Queen Jaw Jaw. I hope to have a new picture in the morning. We expect some heavy rain tonight, but I put the nest in a spot where there are a lot of heavy evergreen branches above it.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

What a clever idea! We have had birds build nests in all sorts of crazy areas. The most surprising being in a bag of dog food... but not inside, but within the tube formed when we rolled the top of the package over. And the scariest was inside of our garage door opener light. I smelled smoke for an entire day before we were able to sniff out the smoldering nest! Fortunately, it had been abandoned (perhaps because it was too hot?).

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

PS have you considered adding a subscribe via email option to your blog (ie through feedburner or feedblitz)? my personal googlereader is full but there are a few blogs that i would love to keep up with via email on a regular basis.

tot trends weekly said...

:( so so sad. I checked every day for updates didn't expect this one. You did your best, the weather didn't cooperate, sniff, sniff.

Tot Trends Weekly Magazine

max said...

Thank you Jae. I had hoped to follow him until he left the nest.