Does this Baby Bird Need Rescue?

Does this Baby Bird Need Rescue?

This is a reprint from the May/June issue of the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society’s Western Meadowlark – Thank you!

by Ruth Greyraven

Do everything you can to reunite an uninjured baby bird with its parents.

If the chick is a cotton-ball on legs… you have a quail, killdeer, or other precocial species. These tiny fluffballs open their eyes and start running after their parents on Day One after hatching. If needed, move the chick from a dangerous location to a safer nearby location.

IMG_4848If the chick is feathered… with a short tail and short wings, but it is fluttering and hopping around rather than flying, then you have a fledgling of an altricial species. It isn’t injured. It is normal for altricial chicks to pop out of the nest before they are ready to fly. This awkward stage will pass in a few days. The fledgling’s parents are nearby, feeding it regularly. The fledgling needs its parents to teach it the ropes of birdness for weeks or even months to come. Move the chick only when needed to get it to a safer nearby location.

If the chick is extremely naked and its eyes aren’t open… you have a hatchling. It is only a day or two old. After its eyes open and tube-like sheaths (pinfeathers) begin grow- ing on the wings and back, we call it a nestling. In either case, the best resolution is to get the baby back in its nest, if you can find the nest and if the nest is within reach. When a nest has fallen, support the nest appropriately and affix it up as close to its orig- inal location as possible. You can create an artificial nest cup, lined with dry grass, and put it somewhere safe or as close to the real nest as possible. Most birds are great parents, if given a little help.

If there is an obvious injury or no way to reconnect the baby bird with its parents, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Some veterinarians or humane societies may be able to help, but only a licensed wildlife rehabili- tator can legally provide long-term care. Reha- bilitators are likely to be unpaid volunteers. Don’t expect that somebody will be available to answer your phone call 24/7 and rush to your home. In most instances, you’ll need to bring the baby bird to the rehabilitator. Some of these groups will take every type of injured or orphaned wildlife. Others have specialties.

If you need to provide short-term care to a baby bird … the internet offers many excellent sites with advice on how to care for various species of birds. Hummingbirds need different care than finches. Crows need different care than pigeons.

Wildlife Aplenty on an Hour Walk at Wildwood Canyon State Park

Wildlife Aplenty on an Hour Walk at Wildwood Canyon State Park

A rattlesnake, numerous species of butterflies, cliff swallows bathing…….  I’m so glad I went, even though I had only an hour for a quick walk while my husband was at an art class. I chose Wildwood Canyon State Park in Yucaipa CA, which I wrote about in this initial March visit and this other March hike to Hunt Ranch.

Great place – no one there on a Monday late morning.

It had rained a couple nights prior so parts of the trails were moist – which attracted many butterflies getting minerals. I previously wrote about butterflies and puddle parties.

Lesson learned…. if you’re thinking about a short trek to a wild area – do it!

[Read more…]

Column Follow-up: Good tree trimmers, rain barrels and stopping the butchering of our trees

Column Follow-up: Good tree trimmers, rain barrels and stopping the butchering of our trees

My last column “Progress and Challenges in Redlands’ Natural World” was published in our local paper today. Toni Momberger, its progressive editor, has left and consequently so have her columnists until the new editor establishes his/her writers. My column’s messages apply to more than the inland area of Southern California where I live.  I’ve also had some follow-up questions and additional information to share. [Read more…]

See our native landscaping on the Redlands Garden Tour April 16-17

See our native landscaping on the Redlands Garden Tour April 16-17

One week from now (Sat/Sun, April 16-17) our yard is one of six featured ones on the Redlands Garden Tour and Plant Sale. As some know from my articles, in 2008 we replaced most of our lawn in front with drought tolerant — mostly California native –plants. Now it’s a mature example of how lush native plant landscaping can be.

Other features of our yard: [Read more…]

Weed barrier – don’t use!

Weed barrier – don’t use!

It’s great that many people are replacing grass with low-water landscaping, especially in the Southwest where lawns don’t make sense. One concern (along with trees not getting adequate water) that I’ve noticed is the widespread use of weed barrier cloth. Our Redlands CA fire stations have even used it in their waterwise demonstration projects.

While it might help with weeds initially, weed barrier cloth not necessary and is even harmful. [Read more…]

Butterfly Update! Including Monarchs from our Yard and Mexico butterfly photos

Butterfly Update! Including Monarchs from our Yard and Mexico butterfly photos

Here in Southern California in January, despite some temps dipping into the 20s, I’m still seeing monarch butterflies in our yard, helped by some of our milkweed that manages to stay alive. I posted an article in October about how our tropical milkweed finally attracted monarch caterpillars. I’m happy to report it continues to birth dozens of caterpillars and even some adults.

Outside, these caterpillars are making it on their own themselves.

These caterpillars are making it on their own in January.

Here are some photos from our yard, plus a few butterfly photos from a recent trip to Baja Mexico, along with a few things we’ve learned. [Read more…]

Weeds for Butterflies and More on our Native Pollinators

Weeds for Butterflies and More on our Native Pollinators

This is a follow-up to my post on Attracting Butterflies and Pollinators to our Yards – more takeaways from San Diego area speakers Moe Magoski and Michael Klein, plus photos of pollinators, important butterfly plants we might consider weeds, and some resources. [Read more…]