Thursday, May 29, 2008

Holy Worm Moat, Robin

Mouthy robinsYes, I know, this is a candy blog (allegedly), but these guys were out in the spot where I take pictures of candy, and speckled malted milk robin's eggs are one of my favorite Easter treats. Did you know that Hershey's introduced Mini Robin Eggs Whoppers in 1952? Yum.
Maybe not so much with the appetite after spending a few days trying to keep these evil, I mean adorable little creatures alive. I can't eat chicken anymore. At least I don't enjoy it.
Things I Learned This Week:
Mushed up worms from a cocktail straw make a fine hors d'œuvre for an insectivore. Remember, feed them stuff they'd normally eat. Like worms. Yum.

Birds don't benefit from eating infant formula at room temperature from an eye dropper.

BirdfeedYou do not have to jump off your apartment balcony to teach a bird to fly (thanks for that, Phil.) (photo not available) They'll do it on their own. Actually, funny story, I once had to stop my nephew, Joey, from jumping off my apartment balcony.

If you see their cold, seemingly lifeless bodies on your porch after a storm and the mother won't come around and you flash back to the first time you read Helter Skelter, you should indeed pick them up and put them back in their nest. That's a myth about how if you touch them the mother won't come back. It's like how guys with steady girlfriends are better in bed. Or if you touch them their girlfriends won't come back. Maybe it's their mothers. At least in my case. I can't remember.

And the part about having to chew and regurgitate food (again, thanks, Phil) (photo not available), not true. I think these guys would have eaten a New York strip with A-1 sauce and a side of slaw. Don't try that. Robins are sturdy and the mother was feeding them wriggly beasts the size of sandworms before the storm broke up their happy home.

Keep them warm, but not extra crispy. A heating pad on the bottom of a box (just on half so they can move over if it's too warm) will work if you don't have a lamp on top (same deal, half in case it's too warm). A nice, wide one, like a desk lamp or one of those photo lamps with a 40 watt bulb is the ticket.

Keep things quiet, they're not little drama queens.
"Don't think for a minute I didn't hear that, Bryce—is that what you're wearing?"

The best thing you can do for them in most cases: Keep calling until you find a place that will take them and do so ASAP because:

Butt ugly birdsHideous creatures that they are, they deserve a chance.
People are chock full of misinformation, but there's someone out there who knows.
Don't talk about bringing them in the house, because that would be illegal.
If the bird is learning to fly, aka, a fledgling, don't spaz out if it's fallen from its nest, the parents are nearby and waiting for you to leave. So go!
You can make a nest out of Tupperware if you can't find the original one, and always use as much of the nest as you can. Add some twigs if it needs it. A little tissue if you must. Put holes in the bottom and stick the nest or Tupperware as close to where it fell as possible—away from predators. Then wait and watch.
Hatchlings may not appreciate the worm moat you made for them.
Don't freak out when the godsend that is the Four Lakes Wildlife Center sticks them in a microwave, that thare is an incubator, son.
We have an emergency animal clinic that takes in wounded wild critters 24/7 free of charge. The birds usually end up with the good folks at Four Lakes. There's probably a wild life rescue in your area.
Don't be afraid to call back to double check numbers, hours, and extensions.
Good luck guys, I'll be eating a little less KFC thanks to you.


  1. Very clever, Jeanna! When Jimbo dropped the nest clue, I was going to say the photo was of a bird's nest. They are sort of cute in that weird, naked, featherless, bulging eyes, open beak kinda way :)

    My father raises Belgian racing pigeons, and the babies are so funny looking when they are first born. Then they get really cute with all their fuzz.

    Hope you're enjoying the weather. It was 25 degrees here today. Finally! T-shirt and shorts weather! LOL!

  2. It's been raining and in the mid-fifties all day. I see more rain and mid-to-high seventies on the horizon. Too warm for my blood.
    There are pigeons with Belgian accents that race? I think these birds lost some fuzz from me not getting them the best care sooner. I'll see if they made it tomorrow. Last I heard they were alive.

  3. Darn....the new girlfriend is keeping me out too late to keep up w/my fav bloggin buddies!
    I had to break up a cat/dog fight tonight at her house.
    1 cat vs 4 gorgeous little drop kick size mutts and the cat was winning! Her sister brought over her two little weenie dogs, and one of em got bit in the weenie area.
    It looked like a crime scene when I got there. Blood every where. The cats right paw still stuck in the long haired one's ear. I grabbed the cat up and she didn't bite and scratch me but once or twice....took her a while to figure out I wasn't a dog.

    Enjoyed the hell out of your birdie adventures!!!!!
    I think I got cat scratch fever!

  4. Damn cats. Playing hero, eh? I guess you have a place in your heart for drop kick dogs.
    Damn cat.

  5. ugh, those bird really are horribly ugly. I like robins--(I'll admit it, I'm an amatuer birder, I have binoculars and everything) birds? Better you than me, Gunga Din.

    Congratulations on getting them to a safe home. :)

  6. LOL! Jimmy, that was too funny! I can almost picture it happening. Chance always gets beaten up by Fred (AKA Mama Cat). He never learns his lesson though. He keeps going close to the kittens and every time he does that, Fred goes nuts-o on him. Seriously, it's the most horrible sound you'd ever hear. Then Chance is standing there with a cat hanging onto his back, claws and teeth digging into him. Poor pooch. Then he gets that sad look on his face.

    Jeanna, I think you should have a super hero title. You should be called, "Jeanna, Defender of the Innocent (innocent baby birds and other cute critters other than cats, that is)"!!

    I had a similar experience last summer. Some guy came over and brought me three Pileated Woodpecker babies. I was like, "Awwww! They're so cute! But WTF am I going to do with three woodpecker babies???"

    The guy was in the bush cutting trees and he found the three birds, but no mom to be found anywhere. So, he brought them to me. I don't know why he did that. Anyway, I tried to feed them worms and water, but they weren't having it. I called around to see if there was an animal shelter or hotline I could call on this island, but nothing. One of the babies died. The next morning, another one died. I finally got hold of this guy who is THE animal person on this island and he told me that the babies needed something special that they could only get from when their mom feeds them, AND there is a special grub that woodpeckers eat that can be found under the bark of some trees. By the time I was about to drive the lone bird to him, it died.

    GAH, sorry to be so depressing this early in the morning! I'm sure your birdy babies will be fine because you are much smarter than I was! :)

  7. Ah, C., I'm so sorry, I know the feeling. There is a special recipe that involves chicken based baby food, insects, and fruit. It's a recipe that's being perfected by people who have been doing this for a long time, so don't feel badly.
    I bet if the guy would have left the nest in the area, away from ground predators, the parents would have found it. Some moms only come back at dusk and dawn.
    I hope to see them within the hour to take photos of this hawk for an article. It's a tough thing and they wouldn't have made it the way I was taking care of them. Did I mention they eat every 20 minutes?
    Don't know how smart I was, I listened to third parties instead of going right to the source, and didn't double check numbers.

  8. Hey Jodi, yeah, blech. Are they supposed to look like that? I thought they lost some fur after the trauma.
    I think these people are the only ones of their kind in the state, but they have a lot more publicity besides me coming their way, so good on them.
    You are a woman of many talents.

  9. Hey C., I just left the Wildlife Center and you were right to try to feed them worms. The robins wouldn't eat the worms I tried to feed them either. I think it was how I was feeding them and maybe not being persistent enough. The little creatures look so different I can't believe it. Mouths open of course. But wrens are insectivores (learning new words) which means you were doing the right thing.
    Also, it was suggested you get licensed for taking in wild life. I think you'd be good at it.

  10. I'm so glad you helped them out. :)

  11. Hey Lisa, I think Mother Nature did a lot of the work by making them so tough. And my cousin Karen was telling me to go for it while I was envisioning what I'd do with their little bodies when they died.
    You must have run across this before?


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