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Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

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EmilyGrace
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Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby EmilyGrace » Thu May 23, 2013 7:35 pm

If I'm doing the wrong thing, please let me know. But don't be unkind, I'm trying to do the right thing by this little baby.
At my workplace there's a lot of birds which nest in the rafters, we've tried to discourage them but they always find a way in somehow and make their nests. A baby bird fell bird fell from a nest today. This is the second time this season that babies have fallen from the nest, and the first set were placed in a box outside on a high self (at the advice of the audobon society) hoping that the parents would continue to feed them. The babies (3 of them) all died. This newest baby is older (he has flight feathers just starting to come in, and can stand awkwardly) and was more vigorous so when I saw him I offered to take him to the audobon society for rehabilitation. I did this because I didn't want the nestling to die, since the other strategy hadn't worked.
So the baby is under my care until tomorrow afternoon when I can take him in to the audobon society. They wouldn't come get him and that's the earliest I can manage. So I have him in a snug little box with a shredded paper towel nest in my home. I've covered it with a towel to keep him from getting streesed. Here's the problem: I know birds feed their babies almost constantly, and I know he's hungry (he didn't eat the 3/+ hours that I was at work, and I'm hearing him hunger-chirp now). But he won't eat. I smushed up some worms and offered little bits to him with tweezers, but he wouldn't take it. It doesen't seem like he's too young, but that might be it sense he doesen't seem to recognize it as food. And we're out of bird seed too. What am I doing wrong, and are there any alternative foods? Please help me, I know he probably won't survive anyway, but I want to help him if I can.
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Ash
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby Ash » Thu May 23, 2013 11:51 pm

I hope this helps: http://www.marathonwildbirdcenter.org/baby_birds.html

Good luck. It sounds like he'll make it if he's healthy now and you get him to the society tomorrow.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas
EmilyGrace
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby EmilyGrace » Fri May 24, 2013 2:10 am

Thank you so much Ash!
I was so scared that he wouldn't make it through the night without food. That link you gave me is great, I was suprised to learn that kibble works for birds too! I mashed up some cat food in water, let it soak, and finally managed to feed him two big mouthfuls on a little spoon at 10:00pm. I was so relieved. But I also know now that he should have been eating up to three pieces of food every half hour! I wish i had known what to do sooner and hope this doesen't negatively impact his development.
Since I know finches sleep through the night, I guess I'll get up and try to feed him at 6:00am and then again every half hour until I have to leave at 7:30am (I have school early and then work so my dad is taking him to audobon). I'll ask him to feed the baby a few times, since he'll probably leave at 10am.
Fingers crossed that he makes it!
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Ash
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby Ash » Fri May 24, 2013 2:25 am

I think you're doing the right thing! I'm sure that what you are doing is good. The site did mention not to give them water because they might breathe it in, so just take note of that.

Let us know how things go or if any problems arise. We'll try to help you or direct you to some good sites.
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EmilyGrace
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby EmilyGrace » Fri May 24, 2013 9:43 am

I'm sad to say he didn't make it through the night. Poor little thing. :(
Thanks for your help. He was probaby overstressed or I the feeding i gave him was too little, too late. I feel really shoddy... But he would have died outright if I left him where he was, so I'm glad I atleast tried for him.Unfortunately this is more than likely to happen again, and if it does i know what to do better next time.
EmilyGrace
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby EmilyGrace » Fri May 24, 2013 10:26 pm

Finch Update:
Lo and behold, the next day 4 downy, screaming nestlings were brought in by a customer (they had been delivered this morning, nest and all with a load of lumber). My boss and I prepared a box for them, filled with straw and with low enough sides that they can get out of it when they fledge. We put it out a shelf near where the lumber had come from. Almost immediately the surroundings began to take interest and I'm sure they are being fed. Seeing this communal caring of young is really touching. But now its getting dark , and without a parent or surrogate to sit on them, they will freeze. Should I bring them inside, or leave them and hope if i don't disturb them anymore that a bird will step up?
These hard decisions are killing me, and its so hard to leave them not knowing what will happen. I know no one will respond in time for me to make my decision. But i will and I'll what happens to the little babies tomorrow.
Wish me luck.
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby EmilyGrace » Sat May 25, 2013 2:12 am

Decision:
I decided to leave the babies out in the box, in the hopes that a bird will nest them tonight. I did this because the best caretaker for a finch baby is a finch mama, and since all the surrounding birds immeadiately responded to the babie's cries i assume that they will likely be cared for. I don't want to take an animal out of the wild unless there's no other choice, especially given the success of my first attempt. All four were still robust and screaming when I last checked on them at 7:45 pm. These ones are quite large and energetic, despite being completely featherless and with shut eyes (they are not finches). I hope they make it until morning out there. But at the same time I wish I would've taken them: they'd be guranteed food and warmth that way.
I feel like my heart's been broken twice in the past two days, and that my first attempts to help wild animals have been failures. BUt if these four survive, we'll finally have an idea of what works for them.
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Ash
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby Ash » Sat May 25, 2013 3:12 am

Don't be too hard on yourself. You did what you could, and even though it didn't work out how you wanted, you know that the baby was warm for the night. And who knows, something may have tried to eat him if you had left him outside, so at least he was comfortable. Baby birds can be quite fragile and there may have been other reasons you found him pushed out of the nest. Mother birds we'll push out sick babies.

As for the new group of eggs, it may be best to try and see if the mother will take care of them. It can be hard because you really want to help them and you feel that by putting them out there for her they'll have the best chance. Maybe tomorrow watch and see if any mother birds are feeding them. If you think that maybe they aren't getting fed, taking them to the rehabilitator might be the best option for them.

It's hard when you try to help wild animals. It's difficult to know exactly why you find them out of the nest or away from the mom, so it's best to try to help them while at the same time giving them the space it needs. Most of the time you just hope that mother nature will sort things out.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas
EmilyGrace
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby EmilyGrace » Sat May 25, 2013 5:43 pm

Thanks Ash, your input and support in this has been great. I wish I had betters news for this post: all four of the nestlings died. I don't even know how to say what I'm feeling. I don't know whether the box wasn't high enough off the ground for the parents to feel safe nesting in it, or if it was too far away from the original nest site. Maybe I was mistaken in thinking the birds were caring for them.
I should have taken them with me for the night and then to the audubon. The babies were completely featherless and likely couldn't stand the cold. They were also very healthy and energetic and I'm sure they would've done well in a rehab center. But its too late to take back the decision now.
I will talk to the audubon again to better refine our procedure, but I think what I should do is whenever there is a baby that doesn't have his flight feathers and we can't put him directly back in the nest I will take him to audobon. I talked to some of the senior employees about this and there has never been a successful nestling rehabilitation that they can remember. If this happens.again, I'll try to change that.
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby prk22 » Sat May 25, 2013 8:01 pm

Hi- I am not sure I understand what had been relayed to you from the society...in my experience, they need to be placed back into the nest, or a secure spot very close to where the nest was (should it fall)...or they need to be taken in. Birds can be tricky for a lot of new rehabbers since they can easily aspirate their food, or damaged caused by placing the food too far down their throat. I am surprised the society did not encourage you to bring them in, despite it being a high traffic season for them. I would look up other rehabbers in your area who you could call and see if they/or know of someone who is comfortable with really early stage chicks.

Then also in regards to your nesting problems in the rafters. I will have to look for it...but there is this mock-owl devise used to scare away nesting birds...sorta like a 'scarecrow' but in an owl form...and it wards off many birds lower on the food chain.

I mean to be helpful, but if I skipped a message from scrolling on my phone reading this, and my advice was already stated, I apologize. I just know how uncomfortable I am with most chicks in their first few days...and how a lot of people in my field really leave it in the hands of specialists.
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby prk22 » Sat May 25, 2013 8:01 pm

Plus it will save you the heartache of the steep mountain of care to climb to get them through the delicate stage.
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Ash
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby Ash » Sun May 26, 2013 1:35 am

Sorry it turned out that way. icon-sad You followed their advice though, so you really can't blame yourself. I wish they had been more pro-active about coming and helping you out.

Next time I wish you luck. Growing up, we'd find baby birds that were sick and we'd try to take care of them, but didn't have any luck until the most recent one.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, 3 tarantulas
EmilyGrace
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby EmilyGrace » Sun May 26, 2013 4:32 am

@prk22 Thank you so much for your imput and i completely agree that putting them back in, or as near as possible to the nest is the best option. And saying that baby birds are delicate to care for is an understatement! I think I've atleast gotten a little taste of the emotional toll when an animal under your care dies, its so incredibly sad. Are you a rehabber? I'm very interested in wildlife rehabilitation and research and would love to make a living in that field.

What We've Been Doing: Placing the babies directly back into the nest isn't an option, they nest beyond the reach of our ladders. So we've been placing them in a box on a high shelf that is as near as we can reckon to the original nest in the hopes that a parent will continue to feed and nest them. The past two attempts which I have witnessed usng this strategy have not been successful. The animal lover in me finds it very hard to leave them knowing they'll likely be dead in the morning. However, I know that there are many factors which could've influenced whether or not the parents find them and care for them again.

Nesting Factors: The nestling's box could've been placed too low to the ground (the last one was only 15 feet high), or in a place with too many people for the parents to feel comfortable nesting there, or the box itself could've been disagreeable to them. It could also have been placed too far from the original nesting spot for them to locate the chicks. Are these things what discouraged the parents from caring for them or is something else going on? I would like to eliminate as many of these factors as possible and give the babies their best chance at survival.

Audobon: I did not speak directly with anyone from audobon, my supervisor did and relayed the information to me. Their calling hours do not work well with my schedule, but i know that i should have taken the time to call them and ask the critical questions. I'm ashamed that i didn't. My understanding of birds and rehabilitation is piece-meal at best, but i'm the only one at my work place who cares enough and/or has the time to try and help. Audobon is the only rehabber close to the Portland area (still over an hour away) that I've found. I will call them at next opportunity tomorrow to hopefully work things out.

Deterrents: The idea of the scare crow owl is very interesting. But wouldn't they figure it out and become habituated pretty quickly? They seem so adaptive and intelligent. I would love to hear more about it. They have largely been considered a nuisance in the store for a long time, and any effective deterrent is worth investigating.
EmilyGrace
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby EmilyGrace » Sun May 26, 2013 4:59 am

@Ash Thank you. It's been difficult, as I'm sure you know. They really find a way into your heart. But I hope some good will come of this still. Could you tell me a little bit about what you did with your sucessful bird rehab?

I understand why Audobon didn't come out, they likely want to save their resources. It would make sense for them to prioritize caring for endangered species, or animals which are more likely to survive. Or it's just not their policy to come out.

On a side note, the fact that they don't accept non-native species raised a few ethical queries in my mind. I understand that non-natives disrupt ecsystems and threaten native wildlife, and thats bad. But if Audobon won't take them and its illegal to rehabilite an animal if you're not liscenced, what do you do if you find an orphaned starling chick (invasive species in oregon) on the ground? Leave it to die?
This is a possibility for me since i think some of our birds are starlings. I respect all life, i don't know if i could be selective like that.
What do you think?
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Re: Need Advice: Rescued Finch Baby

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun May 26, 2013 2:30 pm

I took an injured starling to the raptor center here(Eugene). Since I drove so far they said they would try to save it but they didn't have high hopes. Looked like a broken jaw. I didn't follow up though.

The owls don't work. There's a day care play yard we walk by some times. they have the owls and things hanging that reflect that are supposed to scare birds off. A bunch still nest in the rafters. They don't dare. Heck even when people put those bird spikes on the rafters it doesn't work. I've seen birds build a nest over the spikes.

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