Our mystery baby birds ended up as Eastern Bluebirds and I couldn’t be happier. Since they were orphaned eight days ago, I have not seen one single bluebird in the area. I’ve seen four cardinals hanging around every single day, but no bluebirds. Back in March, my husband and I commented to each other that we were seeing a bluebird pair almost daily in our Bradford Pear tree that sits beside the maple tree that was cut down where these birds unknowingly were nesting (in the partially rotted out trunk in the very top of the tree). I’m sure they were the parents of these birds.
Today when I opened the bathroom door to feed them, they had (seemingly overnight) discovered that they have these things attached to their little bodies called wings and that these wings actually work. Yes, the flapping has begun! All three birdies flew to the edge of the makeshift nesting box I have them in (by the way, those small Bath and Body Works boxes make wonderful little nesting boxes).
They perched and flapped those little wings. It was quite humorous to watch. At one point, my husband walked in the bathroom to shave, and all three birds jumped-flew out of the box, and before he knew it there were three little birds at his feet with yellow wide gaping mouths. Yes, I do believe we have outgrown our little box.
Yesterday, I donned my mask and went in search of mealworms. Although I wouldn’t normally consider bait shops essential businesses right now, for me, they kinda are. I was thrilled to finally find some LIVE mealworms (which I paid a dear price for I might add).
So the babies had their first mealworms today and they were a big hit, although this mamma bird had a great deal of trouble getting the wiggly meal worm down their little gullets. The worms squirmed and kept folding up in a “U” position and clinging to my thumb, making it extremely hard to get the worm into the wide yellow gaping targets. I tried using a blunted pair of long tweezers, but the babies were afraid of the tweezers and would stop gaping. I don’t know who was more frustrated… me or them. But each bird successfully ate three mealworms followed by their usual canned cat food mush. The next feeding they each ate three more mealworms (one ate four). Hubby took photos of the feeding but every single photo came out blurry. I don’t know what went wrong there. Oh well.
Mommy bird is tired. These three little ones still eat every three hours and I kid you not, they are eating more canned cat food per day than my two 12 pound cats eat! Yes, really! I also try to give them a mashed hard-boiled egg yolk every other day (good protein). We are graduating from a box to a cage tomorrow. I do not have a bird cage (I gave them all to Goodwill or anyone who wanted them, years ago, since I was quite sure my bird days were OVER). I do have a gerbil/hamster cage which I dug out from the basement and cleaned, and for now that is going to have to suffice. I figure fledging is just days away. And then
the hard part the REALLY hard part comes. Bluebird parents still care for the fledgling birds from about days 21-30, teaching them how to forge for food on the ground. I still haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to do that. I think God will have to take over from that point. I do pray he will teach them (or at least that he will show me how to teach them) and take care of them.
Pray for me. And them of course.
They have to have a sponge bath (a bird bath?) after every meal as the cat food and egg yolks gets all over them. They also poop on each other now. Yesterday and today they have started to peck at the little tiny 1/8 tsp. I’m feeding them with, and it flies everywhere – in their nostrils, in their eyes, and I even had to clean out an impacted ear hole. That was fun.
Today it was sunny and 82 degrees so I took them out to stand in the grass. They weren’t interested in exploring and only wanted to be near me and their nest box. They seemed to really be attuned to listening to the birdsong. We put a pie tin under a tree with just a bit of water to see if they wanted to take a bird bath, but they wanted no part of that. They hopped out of the pan. Maybe I rushed that a little. The four starlings I raised years ago loved to splash around and roll and flap their wings in the water. I let them sit in the grass in the sun for several minutes until they were dry and warm. At least they looked cleaner.
Well, this mommy bird is exhausted and I’m off to finish sipping my hot cup of lemon tea. Then I’ll do just a little bit of reading and will hit the sack. That 6 am feeding will be here before I know it.