Three weeks ago today, Poopsie the Olive (Karoo) Thrush fell from his nest during a stormy week. On the day that I found him I prayed that he would survive, the journey which he has taken us on has been beautiful. You can read of the progress from his first day until now on my previous posts. Each stage has had me asking knowledgable friends questions and doing a lot of googling. Todays search terms have been “when does a parent bird stop feeding?” and “How to wean a baby bird / fledgling?” The answers which I have found to these questions are inconclusive, so I guess we keep taking it day by day.
You can read of the progress from his first day until now on my previous posts and see pictures of how he has developed from a very ugly little nestling with almost no feathers to now.
Day 17 – 29/11/13 – Poopsie flew from my hand to the ground and then scuttled off under the nearby bushes. We had to catch him and return him to the cage. I felt bad to deny him his freedom but his tail feathers are not long enough yet and I don’t think that he will fly very well at this stage. To leave him would have left him at the mercy of the feral cat which hunts in our garden.
Day 18 – 30/11/13 – I must look like a druggie, dark rings under my puffy eyes from all the early mornings when Poopsie calls for breakfast. To add to the image I walk around with a syringe in my hand half of the day. I love Poopsie but there will be a measure of relief when my duties as foster parent are done. His Mother or relative still visits him every day when the cage is in the garden, I am hoping that she will take over to a degree.
Day 19 – 1/12/13 – Poopsie is still primarily fed tinned ‘Hills Canine / Feline critical care”from the syringe but today he ate several meal worms and 2 other insects which the children presented to him.
Day 21 – 3/1213 – Poopsie has become increasingly agitated in the bird-cage, unfortunately I do not have an aviary. Where possible I have kept the top off the cage but when he is in the garden I keep the top on. I suddenly became very worried when we saw flecks of red raw skin around his beak from his assaults on the bars of the cage. For about 5 years a feral cat has lived in our garden but by some miracle it has been absent for about 2 weeks. With this in mind I decided that it would be best for Poopsie to release him. He hopped off very happily and ensconced himself in a lovely big bush (or smallish tree) which is right outside my bedroom window. After several hours of freedom another storm approached, I brought him inside and he slept in his cage for the night.
Day 22 – 4/12/13 – As soon as he woke I took Poopsie to the bush outside and he has been there since then. I considered bringing him in for the night but decided to let him stay where he is. During the day he came to me readily to be fed. At times I had to crouch and crawl to where he is but twice he flew directly to me. I still don’t know how long I will need to hand feed him. His tail feathers are longer and he can fly a very short distance but he doesn’t seem to make much effort to look for his own food.
This may be my last post about Poopsie. If you have found this post because you are wondering how to care for a thrush nestling or fledgling I hope that I have been of some help. What you need to know is that it is a LOT of work, far more than you imagine. If you don’t have a lot of time at home (they don’t like the car) and the time to feed at least half hour intervals it really is a good idea to go to a rehabilitation centre where the right people are on hand. I mainly chose to take this on because I wanted to release him to his family and the environment which he was born in but I may have romanticized this beyond reality.
In the end Poopsie still relied on me for feeding and we took him to Wildlife in crisis, a rehabilitation centre, he was released from there.