Fri 10.7.5 -
There was a knock on the door and I went to answer it – we don’t often get unexpected callers in the evening. It was our neighbours – the ones we don’t talk to since their dog killed my flightless white dove, Jose. I was so amazed to see them - it was the daughter and the husband - and they had a small pot with the tiniest little bird inside it that you ever saw. I didn’t pay enough attention to the details as I was so surprised to see them, but obviously they found it in their garden, or their dogs did and though normally I would’ve recommended putting it back for the parents to find and feed – I felt in the circumstances it wouldn’t take much for the dogs to kill it so maybe it would be better off with me.
At first glance I thought it was a robin, but soon realised it was a wren, and had something wrong with one foot. I immediately put mealworms to soak and then looked for better accommodation than a dish lined with kitchen paper. I found a tiny basket and lined it with hay, and then put that into a bigger box lined with hay – that I use for baby doves sometimes.
Obviously I had no idea when it had last been fed, but had a go – feeding or trying to! – pieces of soaked chopped mealworms. It did take some and later on when it did a poop I felt like it had done something really clever!!!
You may remember just before my daughter’s wedding in mid-May I had a nest of tiny baby birds to look after, and next day took them to the WildLife Aid at Leatherhead. They were even weenier than Sparky and only covered in fluff, definitely nestlings – whereas I feel Sparky is a fledgling, fluffy with proper little feathers. I know I mentioned to my online friends on Purplecoo that when I phoned to enquire I found all these babies had died, but I think I forgot to say so on this blog. So that was sad, and no doubt not the people at WildLife Aid’s fault, but this time I thought I would try to look after Sparky myself. In case you are wondering, I took the following from the RSPB website:
It is legal to take in and keep most injured wild birds for the purpose of looking after them and releasing them as soon as they are fit.
(above doesnt apply to injured birds of prey)
The day light was fading but I didn’t want to put the electric light on where Sparky was, as I wanted him to be governed by natural light. The conservatory had the best light and I was in there with him – he was in his tiny basket inside the box as before. I went out to get ready for bed, and when I came back he wasn’t in his tiny basket..... or in the bigger box at all!!! I was immediately fearful about where he would be as I didn’t want to step on him! – but soon heard him cheeping – he had obviously climbed out the basket, jumped out of the box and was down the side of the wicker tub chair that his box was on! Feisty little thing!
I went to bed about 10.30pm – in the spare room so as not to disturb Hubby if Sparky needed me in the night. The room of course was dark and my new baby was very quiet. I hoped he would survive but slept far better than when I was panicking about the nestful of babies (Bibberty, Bobberty and Boo I called them) because I had decided what will be, will be. I had set my alarm for 5.15am so I could get up to unblock my baby dove, Selfie but I was woken by loud ‘feed me’ cheeps at 5.07am. Well that was fine, I didn’t mind!
11.7.15 - Sparky and I settled into a routine quickly – he cheeped to be fed about every 30-60 mins and ate 2/3 pieces of mealworm at each feed. Later on I went out and bought some Nature’s Feast (brand name)high energy no mess 12 seed blend with added suet pellets – having read up on reputable websites about what wren’s eat. If you happen to be in this situation do be careful what advice you take – I saw some dangerous rubbish on the internet about feeding baby birds – do NOT squirt water into their beaks it could cause death. This website is sensible - http://helpwildlife.co.uk/sick-or-injured-wildlife/babybirds/. So by the afternoon, Sparky was eating mealworms, a seed or two and a tiny piece of suet at each meal. When I rested in the garden and read my book, Sparky came too – in his box and I took out his tray with all his food and the tweezers etc. I needed my glasses to read my book AND to feed him – he is so tiny I just wouldn’t be able to see him properly without! See him here with a £1 coin so you can see his size (or lack of it!) - and you can also see his bad foot.
|Rescued baby wren - with £1 coin|
I went to see my grandson on a float at the local Big Event and took Sparky with me in the car. The car would’ve got too hot, and I wouldn’t have liked to have left him in there for too long so I took him to my daughter’s house, and popped back every hour to feed him.
Our snake has returned - or probably been somewhere the whole time, but I saw it today on the heap that it calls home, which is just behind the fence separating our garden from the river.
|Grass snake on it's heap|
Sun. 12.7.15 – Sparky didn’t wake me this morning, but I got up on the alarm at 5.15am to unblock Selfie. There weren’t any doves or pigeons around so I will be able to set the time later tomorrow, but it may have been that the dove was rather gloomy – and anyway Selfie won’t need blocking in soon really.
After I’d unblocked, fed the doves that started to arrive, including Selfie’s daddy, Lucky – which is good he’s an early bird so that I can make sure he gets fed, which in turn is good for Selfie! – I then went back to Sparky at about 5.35am and gently parted the folds of his nest, hoping he had made it through another night – and he had! – and was opening his mouth wide for food!
Apart from sleep, cheep, eat and poop, the only other thing he does is preen. You wouldn’t think it of such a tiny little thing.
Between feeds he likes to snuggle up to the fleece in the hood lining the box and go to sleep – adorable!
In the afternoon I added another thing to his buffet – tiny little dead insects that had died in my conservatory. He found them perfectly acceptable!
Mon. 13.7.15 – Again Sparky didn’t wake me up – I roused him at about 6am. His routine continues as before. He is fed more or less on demand when I am here– and if I go out, so far I have not been longer than an hour. I read in my RSPB book that wrens fledge at 15-19 days old, and then are tended by their parents for a further 9-18 days. Since he can't fly I have to assume that he is still under 19 days old, but I don't really know.
The routine of feeding him so regularly doesn’t bother me but would be restrictive for many people. I am mainly here at home, and his box is next to me on the sofa where I sit with my laptop so I just stop typing or reading for a moment or two and feed him a couple of mealworms, a tiny dead fly and a tiny grain from a pair of tweezers. How do I know how much to feed? I don’t! I just offer him food until he shuts his beak, and normally he just goes to sleep again! I start feeding about 6am and last feed depends on him – as the daylight goes – say about 9.30pm to 10pm latest. He puts himself to bed by snuggling deep into the corner of the box. I throw any unfinished mealworms out for the robins and blackbirds and make up a fresh batch for Sparky daily.
I plan to make a little nursery pen for him outside under the bushes, so he gets used to being outside and start to forage – but what I can make it out of I don’t know.....he could slip between any normal bars. I hope to be able to eventually release him but as to the future well we will take it as it comes. His bad leg – or rather, foot, seems no better and no worse.
Tue 14.7.15 - Sparky doesn't seem to digest the little seeds/grains - they come out the same as they went in, so I am giving him less of those, but still a few. In the afternoon, he got quite perky and hopped around his box a bit, looking around. It is not ideal as he is learning about a cardboard box with an old fleece hood and some hay in it, not the outside world, but I can't really see what else I can do.
I was sent this inspirational pigeon rescue story by Hopeinparis who reads my blog and has rescued pigeons herself - the pigeon involved is called Fleetwood and how he overcame his injury is amazing - worth reading I promise you! Fleetwood's story
Cissie and Sultan are taking the new eggs more seriously than they did the first two, but Sultan still behaves like he did with Cloud - making the female do far longer on the nest than most daddy pigeons. Yesterday he didnt go on to the nest til 1pm whereas 10am would be more usual. I find it very annoying and frustrating as I like the bird in the hutch, on the nest, to be shut in safely - so I am always hanging around to see what he will do. But Cissie seems to be ok with it and we shall just have to see how it goes. If the eggs hatch it won't be til near the end of the month, but don't hold your breath - he is such a hopeless sitter and she is a PMV recoverer so what chance really have these eggs got?
My feather shop on Groovycart - called Real Birds Feathers - is doing really well, which always surprises me though I have been running it for about three years now. I started off getting the occasional order, then it crept up to about 6 a month. But now it's 19 or 20 a month, with people using the feathers for all manner of exciting projects. I always need feathers, and can't source them all myself just from my walks so if you keep birds and would like to sell their feathers - do get in touch. They don't need to be colourful feathers, all are useful. My contact details are in the shop. Click here for the Feather Shop (sell to UK only)
The little stock dove mentioned in the last blog that had obviously been caught by a hawk is doing well. I managed to take this close up of it's head - healing well.
Sparky in his box
|Baby pigeon and baby wren|
15.7.15 - This morning when I took Chino out to join the flock, I gently threw her towards the lawn from the door, as is my usual habit - but somehow she had the strength in her one good wing and she flew up and away! Oh no! I wasn't sure if she landed on the roof, and couldnt see her there....so searched the over-grown flower bed and the garden......but couldnt find her......but very soon I spotted her in her usual place under the hutch. Thank goodness!
Sparky got even perkier today - he is growing up fast. I made him a playground - can you spot him in it?
He explored a bit but didn't really seem very interested.
My grand-daughter thought he was cute, until he pooped on her hand!
|Rescued baby wren on my finger|
Little Sparky had a busy day as I took him to show to my grandson in the evening and then my youngest daughter, who was totally enchanted and allowed him to scramble up into her hair!
Since I've had Sparky his foot/leg seems to have got better. It's lost it's limp, crumpled appearance and is just like the other, which is all to the good.
Sparky's story and the rest of the dove blog will be continued soon!