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Baby Birds 101 – To Rescue or Not to Rescue?

Working as a naturalist, I’ve received tons of calls about injured animals and thought I’d share some of my knowledge with you about handling situations with baby birds, since it’s the most common one.

Baby finch. Author photo.

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Hipstamatic Scrub Jays!

I’m not at all much of a techie, but I finally joined the nerd movement and downloaded the Hipstamatic camera app on my little-used iPod. The schtick of this app is that it basically takes photos like an old Holga, messing with depth of field, color saturation, and format, and making all your photos look like they either 1) were taken in the 1960s or 2) went through your washing machine.

I’m a photographer-wannabe so I’ve been playing with the new app this morning. It’s kinda fun, don’t you think? It reminds me of flipping through my mother’s photo albums of when she was my age, traveling through Yosemite National Park with her true love.

They’re not exactly National Geographic quality, but at least you can see the babies getting a little bigger (and the eyebrow! I love the eyebrow!). Happy happy Wednesday!

Tail feathers and Tuesday night musings.

I’ve spent the last 10 days working on the annual wildflower show that I organize at the nature center each year. We collect and display labeled local flowers, weeds, and other plant species and sell native plants as a fundraiser. It’s a lot of work, but honestly, I love it so much – seeing that room full of beautiful wildflowers in bloom, causing smiles and spreading education, and sending people home with happy, bouncy plants for their gardens. Placing that plant order gives me the same feeling as saving up and buying myself a special birthday present! Here’s a short gallery of my favorite pics below from the event:

Anyway, I’m getting that place of exhaustion where you start feeling a little delirious and maybe you could try sleeping standing up just to take the edge off but you’re not sure where the safest place to stand might be. Paired with that, I had an excellent, invigorating walk with the dogperson today and the combination is making me a little reflective. This quote keeps passing through my mind, the last part in particular:

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. — Walt Whitman

What would it be like to live every day with so much integrity, compassion, and truth that your very flesh becomes a lyrical song? I want to live that way.

The babies continue to grow, especially their little tail feathers. Half a week ago, the feathers were incredibly short and essentially useless for flying. Now it’s a different story: the feathers are growing quickly towards their adult length. They’re both molting through some primary wing feathers so their flight efforts are shoddy, but enthusiastic nonetheless. Gump works his tail like a little rudder, trying to gain clearance, catch a little lift, or avoid landing on the bamboo flooring at an angle and speed that propels him into the dark, mysterious underworld beneath the sofa. They take risks, they clamber on window blinds and their mesh enclosure, and, when they’re tuckered out and resting, they make quiet gurgling, chortling noises to each other. And, I’m delighted to see their little white eyebrows are coming in!

They’ll look something like this when they’re adults. Wiki via Greystork

What they’ll look like in another week or so. Wiki via Tyler Karaszewski

What they look like now.

What they look like now.

Baby Birds 201 – Bluejays Steal My Heart

So a small clutch of baby Scrub Jays came into the nature center several days ago. The deliverer had found momma bird deceased and was clearly distressed to have discovered her babies orphaned. There were three. They were lethargic, quiet, cold, and in shock.

I called my rehabber and explained the situation. Instead of her usual response, “Okay, when can we meet up?” she said, “Okay, here’s what you do.” Rehabbers are typically overwhelmed in the springtime and apparently she thought I could handle baby birds solo.

I was up for the challenge.

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Baby Birds 101 – To Rescue or Not to Rescue?

Working as a naturalist, I’ve received tons of calls about injured animals and thought I’d share some of my knowledge with you about handling situations with baby birds, since it’s the most common one.

Baby finch. Author photo.

Read the rest of this entry