Crackle the Grackle6:59 PM
|When I found him Monday. (~8 days old)|
Then I made a clicking sound to try to get it to turn its head towards me. It did; mouth open. The poor thing was hungry.
Well me being me couldn't let it starve. I knew most baby birds die, but I thought I should do something. I came in and looked online for what I could feed it. The recommendations I found gave a mixture of 60% moistened kitten food, 20% hard boiled egg (with the shell ground up for calcium), and 20% meal worms. Well I had hairball control, light cat food and egg, so I prepared a mix of hard boiled egg and moistened cat food in my magic bullet, found a pair of the girls plastic tweezers (from their doctor's kit), and went out to feed the bird. He ate surprisingly well; I think he really was hungry. I didn't want to bring him in just in case mama bird decided to feed him, but I couldn't leave him next to the sidewalk where people walk their dogs. I found a shoe box and made a little nest from paper towels. I placed him in it, and placed it under the tree mama bird was in. I wasn't worried about mom rejecting him because I touched him since birds have a very poor sense of smell. I tried to feed him again, but at that time he wasn't hungry. It was at this point I realized birds don't eat at night. Awesome! I was worried I would be up every hour at night!
|He has food all over his beak; feeding him was not really a clean process.|
|Tuesday Morning. (~9 days old)|
|Wednesday Morning. (~10 days old)|
You can see his feathers unfurling a bit.
I continued feeding him under that tree every hour during daylight until Thursday. I went out around 5:30 Thursday morning, and it was starting to sprinkle. He had no protection from the weather in his box, so I brought him in and stuck him and his box in a cat carrier. The girls had been oblivious to him until that evening. They were excited when they saw him. They even started carrying around their own babies that had fallen out of a nest. Bria had a blue jay and Nadia a pegasus (it has wings at least).
|Thursday Morning. (~11 days old)|
|Thursday evening when the girls found him.|
Friday he went to work with me and was perfectly content to sit in the cat carrier on my desk. Sure everyone there may have thought I was a bit crazy, but I am pretty sure they already knew that.
|Friday Morning. (~12 days old) Standing a little more upright.|
Saturday started to get interesting. He was certainly beginning to look like a bird as well as act like a bird. He started trying to get away when I would feed him. That evening he started hopping a bit, so I decided it was time for a new cage. We took 2 laundry baskets and put them one on top of the other. We secured it with pipe cleaners and added branches for perches. I added a small nest, but a that point he really wasn't staying in it. Bria even wrapped a stick in pipe cleaners to make him a "comfy branch."
|Start of a new cage.|
|Finished cage with perches.|
|In the new nest, but not for long.|
|Eating on a perch. (~13 days old)|
|Sunday morning on a perch. (~14 days old)|
|Sunday morning trying to fly away.|
|Nathan's chicken wire fence.|
Monday he went back to work with me. After trying to fly away in the office he got stuck in a cage. I gave him some perches, and he seemed content to hop around in there for the day. I figured at this point it may also be safe to name him (I didn't want to if he was just going to die). So I called him Crackle.
|Monday morning; really looking like a bird. (~15 days old)|
Tuesday he was back outside, but it was pretty hot for him in the sun. He kept escaping the pen for the shade of the lilies along the garage. So I put the girls little umbrella up for him. Surprisingly he was content to stay right in the shade of the umbrella. As the shade moved so did he. He was starting to peck a bit at water, so I was hoping he would be eating on his own soon. I did end up buying him some meal worms Tuesday evening because I thought they may be easier to get down him then earthworms.
|Spoiled bird with an umbrella.|
|Tuesday afternoon in the shade of the umbrella. (~16 days old)|
|Wednesday morning pecking at some food. (~17 days old)|
|He made the mistake of jumping on Eli. I grabbed him just in time!|
Thursday morning I went to feed him around 6 am, and he wasn't too hungry. So I opened his laundry basket. I came back around 7 am to him stuck in a tree by the garage. I called to him, and he called back, but he kept moving higher. He finally moved more to the center of the tree where I thought I could reach him, so up I went. I was able to get him down this time. Every time I went out he was someplace new. I could always find him though. He was eating more on his own and flying a lot more.
|Thursday Morning. (~18 days old)|
|See his short tail; definitely a fledgling.|
|In a tree.|
|And heading higher.|
|Our Bird Feeder. Grackles like to feed from the ground, but all the other |
birds seem to throw enough seed down there to keep them happy.
|Adult Common Grackle|
|Fledgling Robin on a gate. |
Notice the short tail characteristic of a fledgling.
If it does not have all its feathers, cannot hop, or even doesn't have its eyes open it is a nestling and really should be returned to the nest if possible. If it is not possible it should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center as it takes a lot of diligence to even have a chance at keeping one of these little guys alive. I think Crackle and I were both lucky things worked out so well for us.