Releasing wild birds

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Releasing wild birds

Post by Laura Burcha » Sat, 10 Jul 1993 11:55:10



Okay, my starling (which I've decided it really is, after finding
some more pictures of juveniles in bird books) is happy and
healthy and now knows how to fly. How do I get it ready to go out
on its own? It seems very slow about even picking up the
concept of eating by itself. I've been feeding it solid food
for two days, but saucers of catfood, fruit, and chicken are being
ignored and I still have to feed it by hand, a tricky
proposition with a bird that can fly. I at first thought this
was just it being spoiled, but even after being left alone for
five hours, it didn't seem to touch the food, just greeted
me clamorously when I came back.

I've got him in his cage out on the back porch to get
acclimated to the temperatures, and he certainly doesn't need
help flying (it was fascinating to watch him start flying;
clearly, some sort of genetic switch just flipped, because
after two days with enough feathers to make a short hop,
he went from a failed attempt to even flutter out of his
box to zooming around the screen porch in a mere two hours.)

Laura, Goofy's foster mom

PS: Thanks to all the people who wrote me with advice!

 
 
 

Releasing wild birds

Post by Deanna J. Dee » Sun, 11 Jul 1993 01:11:48


: was just it being spoiled, but even after being left alone for
: five hours, it didn't seem to touch the food, just greeted
: me clamorously when I came back.

I watched a mother starling teaching a baby to eat.  In my neighborhood the
starlings eat the dates from the palm trees that line the streets.  The
starling family were all out on the driveway, mother, father and young one.
The baby would follow the mother around, yelling to be fed with its mouth
open, running after her and pecking her.  The mother would pick up a piece
of date from the ground and feed it to the baby.  A little while later I
noticed that she would offer the food and then back up, still holding the
date, and make the baby come and get it.  A little later she would offer
it and then put it on the ground, sometimes several times to encourage the
baby to pick it up to eat it.  This was over the course of a morning.  So
I guess one could observe that the baby has to be taught to feed itself,
that it's not instinctive?  What do the birding experts say?  This is only
my one-time observation.  I hope it helps you and your baby bird!  As an
aside, the father bird was just an observer to the whole process.  Was he
keeping an eye out for predators and other dangers?
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Releasing wild birds

Post by w-ch.. » Tue, 13 Jul 1993 18:08:54



| Okay, my starling (which I've decided it really is, after finding
| some more pictures of juveniles in bird books) is happy and
| healthy and now knows how to fly. How do I get it ready to go out
| on its own? It seems very slow about even picking up the
| concept of eating by itself. I've been feeding it solid food
| for two days, but saucers of catfood, fruit, and chicken are being
| ignored and I still have to feed it by hand, a tricky
| proposition with a bird that can fly. I at first thought this
| was just it being spoiled, but even after being left alone for
| five hours, it didn't seem to touch the food, just greeted
| me clamorously when I came back.
|
| I've got him in his cage out on the back porch to get
| acclimated to the temperatures, and he certainly doesn't need
| help flying (it was fascinating to watch him start flying;
| clearly, some sort of genetic switch just flipped, because
| after two days with enough feathers to make a short hop,
| he went from a failed attempt to even flutter out of his
| box to zooming around the screen porch in a mere two hours.)
|
| Laura, Goofy's foster mom
|
| PS: Thanks to all the people who wrote me with advice!
|

Laura,
   Relating to teaching to eat, basically you want to emulate the bird's
natural diet as much as possible (sorry, not sure on starlings, except that
based on what I observe, it's just about anything!). Probably mealworms are
a good "natural" food, and can be obtained at bait stores. You'll probably
have to feed a few by hand (needle-nosed pliers work pretty well for us,
and even look a little like a beak), then just put some in a dish with side
to high for them to crawl out of. If possible, keep an eye on the weight of
the bird to make sure it doesn't starve. When it's gotten the hang of worms
(they're really beetle larvae), you might supliment with (ugh!) crickets,
also from bait shops. Again, let the bird know these are food by hand-feeding
some, then leave some in a tall-sided slick dish (we use one of those
plastic microwave brownie dishes). Eventually, he'll catch on.
   Then comes the REAL problem! Trying to get him to be wary of people,
even though you've been momma for so long! You generally have to ignore the
bird, dump in food and water, don't make eye contact, and wait until it
stops "gaping" at you (you know, that open-mouthed-wings-slightly-out-with-
a-little-cry-that-tears-your-heart move!) Then and only then will it be safe
in our cruel world!
   We've done one blue jay last year, and are working with another. It's a
load of work, and it's always sad to see them go, but rewarding as heck!
Plus, they will usually come back to visit for a few weeks, since they
remember a good source of food!
   Best of luck!
   Bill & Celia