Friday, July 9, 2010

For the Love of a Cedar Waxwing

From In the Garden

The highs and lows of feeding birds and having lots of wildlife in your garden are many and varied. Sometimes I'm not sure if the highs outweigh the lows. We had a visitor here at Tiger Gardens when a cedar waxwing apparently broke its wing. I had just went to the backyard and came back and found this sweet little thing on the ground lying immobile. It was a mighty lucky bird the cats did not find it first, or worse yet BJ. Though luck might not be a good word as the wing is certainly broken.

The first thing I did was secure the bird in a safe place away from predators. In my case I put it in a old bird cage I had hanging around as a decoration. I then placed water and sunflower seeds in the cage. It was very thirsty and drank when I poured some water near its beak. I could not get it to eat so I then went and picked some blueberries from my garden. I read cedar waxwings are fruit and insect eaters but still could not believe it would not eat any sunflower seeds. I found it near the bird feeders so figured it was eating there. It is possible that if it was it may have been attacked by another bird and injured. So sad.

The bird enjoyed the water and seemed content for most of the day. It even drank on its own but would not eat any food. Sadly, the bird slowly languished and wound up dying. I wish there was something more I could've done for it but I'm not sure what one does for a wild bird with a broken wing. Kathleen of Kasey's Korner just had a similar experience with a baby flicker in her garden so I know I am not alone in dealing with wild birds in the garden. Does anyone else know what to do in these situations or have experiences with wild birds and injuries?

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden


  1. Aww..poor baby! You tried, Tina, not sure what else I would have done different. They are great fun to watch when they visit my garden.

    Hope you're having a great summer!

  2. The downed birds I find in my garden are those who have flown into the windows. Some are just stunned and if you pick them up and hold them for a few seconds, they recover and fly away. Some if you protect them for a while, as you did in the cage, recover. (I just bring them in out of heat or cold and leave them alone for a while. Alas, some are injured beyond recovery. It is always a thrill however, when they do recover and you had some small part in it. Check in your area for wildlife or bird rescue.

  3. You made great efforts, but it was probably already in shock from the injury.

    Cedar Waxwings are so beautiful. We rarely get to enjoy them--usually in February.

  4. It is never easy to see injured birds and we at the same do not know what to do.... bangchik

  5. So sad, but you did your best, Tina. I've had several fledglings I've found on the ground in the past few weeks, especially after storms. I tried to locate their nests, but couldn't, so I lifted them up to a low tree branch where I thought they would be safe and perhaps their parents would rescue them. But I know that at least one didn't make it. I don't know of any place that takes care of injured birds either.

  6. I'm so sorry Tina, not sure what more you could of done for the poor thing. :(

  7. Tina, Try the vet, one vet here rescues the birds and gives them to a customer we have. She has raised a BJ (he broke his wing and never flew again) She has rehabed a crow, seagulls, doves. She is on the list for contacts.
    I love the close-up photo of the birdie.

  8. Tina,
    It really is heartbreaking to see nature take its course. I once had an owl die in my yard. Too sad.
    Have a good weekend.

  9. Sorry about the waxwing.

    You might want to check and see if there is a wildlife refuge/rehabilitation center near you that you can call the next time something like this happens.

    We have one that takes almost everything. I think they have to be certified or licenses especially if they're handling eagles and such.

  10. Good morning all!

    Lynn, Hello! I hope you are doing well and having a fantastic summer too.

    Donna, It is so sad when they make it but I think I will check into a wildlife recovery center. I'm wondering about LBL now.

    Cameron, They are such pretty birds for sure. I always get a thrill when I see them. I think they spend a good amount of time here but rarely do you see them in flight all together. They are the stealth birds sometimes:)

    Bangchik, One sure can feel helpless with trying to save them. Very sad indeed.

    Rose, Those fledglings really have a hard time with life. I hate to even think how many don't make it but trying is at least a good thing.

    Racquel, I did my best for sure. This poor thing. I just wish I knew what happened to it.

    Dawn, I need to check into that. Not much hope on our vets here. Most don't even treat pet rabbits, let alone birds:( But LBL might be an option. Lucky BJ!

    Rosey, That must've been heartbreaking indeed. Rough for sure. You have a great weekend too.

    GSS, Those wildlife rescuers sure do have their hands full. A license sounds like a good thing-with some training too perhaps.

  11. I'm not sure there's much you could have done for it. They are beautiful birds and it's too bad that one got injured. Do you remember the bird guy at the Lawn and Garden Show? I wonder if they would take in an injured Waxwing?

  12. Sorry about the bird. You did all you could. Carla

  13. Hi Tina, I agree, there is a sad side to hosting a lot of birds in your garden. Things like this happen and because you like birds, you notice and feel badly, where many people would not.

    I had a cedar waxwing baby many years ago and had good success raising it. I wonder tho, since I could not teach it how to find food on its own, it may well have died after I released it.

  14. Oh Tina, how upsetting for you to have this lovely bird die. It was beautiful.

    Try to find a good wildlife shelter near you for future reference. We have a great one here - I used to volunteer there. They feed the birds special food, though I doubt yours died from starvation - I may have had internal bleeding that you couldn't see or sometimes just shock is enough. A broken wing is a hard one though. The aim is to have the bird returned to the wild and that can be difficult.

    Nature is tough sometimes - but always wonder-filled...

  15. Oh dear, sad. Here in Maine we have the Gray Animal Farm and it takes wounded or orphaned animals. They try to mend and realease the animals back to the wild but sometimes that is not possible so they stay their for life. They have an eagle that has been there since 2005 that was thrown out of his 60 - 80 foot high nest when the tree it was in was hit by lightening and he was thrown to the ground. He was just a chick and his brother was killed. He broke a wing so badly it had to be amputated so now he has balance problemes and can fall very easy. However he is able to walk, run and hop up to 2 feet. He has become an ambassador for the wildlife park and they take him out for walks and he will interact with the people. Being brought up around humans he is feels safe with them. So there are good stories along with sad ones. If anyone finds a bird in trouble again, they may check for something like this or even better, research it now so you are ready. Last year one of the times we were there they had 3 baby moose that had just been brought in as their mother had either died or left them. They were still wobbley on their feet. They only exposed them to the public rarely as they were to be returned to the wild. We just went there on Wednesday and the 3 moose were gone. So that is a true happy ending!! We were so lucky to see them and they were the cutest. Strange to see an animal that size (they are big even when born) be wobbley on their feet. Also, like Dawn said there are people scattered all over that do all kinds of animal rescues. Sorry to be so winded today but I just love that Gray Animal Farm. It does sooooo much good.

  16. Dave, I'll ask him next year. It would be good to know where to go to.

    Carla, Thanks.

    Marnie, I bet that waxwing you raised is doing great and most happy for you to be a good Samaritan.

    Byddi, I think you are right about the inside injuries. There is no way I could help there. So sad when this happens.

    Mom, That Gray Animal Farm sounds like a winner all around and does a great service to save and rehabilitate wildlife. That must be a hard job. No problem on being winded-talk all you want on here! I called Uncle Rick last night so have caught up with him. Just wanted to let you know. So glad your visit went well.

  17. What a pretty bird, and how sad about what happened. I think you did all you could. The few times I've found injured birds I put them in a safe place away from cats until they flew off on their own. I recently read a book about a lady that rehabbed injured birds, but I have feeling there aren't very many of those people around. At least it died peacefully and not further tortured by a cat or something else.

  18. Ya he called a couple of times yesterday and I asked if he got you or not and he said he had. I figured when you did not call me back you had talked to him. He probably is still in surgery now as I think he was set to go at 1:00pm.

  19. What a beautiful bird Tina. I think you did what any of us would have done to try and help it. I know I've rescued a few myself but they were just knocked silly from hitting something. Here there is a guy who writes articles about birds in the paper and when that little Hummingbird dropped right in front of Doris and I she called him. He was dead but she was curious about how often this happens and had some questions for him. Maybe a local vet would have an idea of who to contact if it ever happens again. But at least he wasn't fighting for his life and panicked when he went.

  20. You are so kind Tina. I wouldn't have a clue what to do. I feed the birds constantly-all seasons, and I don't know what I would do if I found an injured bird. I do think there is a nature preserve around here that takes care of abandoned birds--I might call them.

  21. Sorry to hear about the fate of the waxwing Tina. It is sad when wild creatures die.

  22. So sad when we loose a wildlife friend. That one sure is a cutie. Great you did all you could for it.
    Hope you have a great weekend.
    Hi Jean, Dawn, Anonymous, Skeeter & Nina. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

  23. Hot and dry are the two words of the day today in GA....

    Poor Cedar Waxwing. Am glad you were there to do what you could for the little thing. They are such beautiful birds aren’t they? I find birds occasionally on the ground from flying into the windows of the house. I will protect them from the kitties around the yard and then they fly off once back to themselves or they sometimes die from a broken neck. I am sad to see that but nothing I can do for them. I have put stain glass birds in all the sunroom windows and that helps keep them at bay but at times, a hawk will startle them and they fly off too erratically and then they hit the window. Sigh...

    There is a place at LBL that has injured animals but not sure if they take any from private citizens or if they only take from the State or whatever. I cannot recall the name of the place but I think it is close to where the buffalo roam. You can pay a fee and tour the place too. They have Eagle, fox, raccoon, etc for you to enjoy. You may want to check into that place for future mishaps of such…

  24. Ahh, what a story you shared, Tina. You did all you could...more than many people would. I don't know of any place near me that could have helped, so not sure what I would do in that situation. I'm glad you were able to give it the attention it needed and be with it to give it rest, water and care--even though it passed on. Nature really is cruel, but it is what it is. I have had cedar waxwings visit me only once that I know of...and fortunately I got a couple of photos. I wish they would visit more often. We've been busy this summer and are out of town quite a bit...blogging is on the back-burner but always in my thoughts. I'll pick up to a more frequent pace once the summer has ended. I don't want it to end--but I would love it if the weather would cool down. The 100+ temps have not been fun! Hope you're having a great summer;-) Jan

  25. We have two bird rescue organizations in my area, maybe you have one too. ALso look under bird rehabilitator online or in phone book. Even local Humane Society may be able to refer you.

  26. Hi Tina,
    It's my bedtime, so I'm not going to be able to read to see if anyone had a good solution for you. I have been pondering about how best to live with the wildlife around us. I am going to have to invest in some rabbit fencing if I want to grow vegetables. They are eating my flowers this year, too, and I see one or more to chase away every time I go outside.

    I'm sorry the bird died, in spite of your efforts to help it. I have not seen the robin who comes around lately. The other day, I saw two kids trying to catch a bird, and I went out and asked why they were doing that. They went away and left the bird alone. It went into some hosta plants near by.

    I've had problems with one of the girls trying to catch butterflies in my yard, and my husband saw her and another friend picking flowers from the yard a week or so ago. I went out then, too, and told them I don't even pick my flowers much, because I like to enjoy them outside. Either the bird was injured in some way, or was not able to fly yet. I hope it wasn't the bird I call my friend.

  27. Oooh, how heartbreaking Tina. I knew I wanted to read your bird story but I also knew it would make me sad. Why does it always end up being a songbird or other "desirable" type bird rather than a sparrow or starling?
    The day I found my flicker I researched bird rescues on the web. I found a website called which is supposed to list licensed rehabilitators in your area. The website was under construction and wouldn't bring anything up for me that day tho. Wouldn't you know?
    Thank you for the link love and sorry about the loss of a beautiful waxwing.

  28. Here in England we could always find some sort of wildlife rescue charity. The nearest one to me is delightfully named 'Saint Tiggywinkles'!!

  29. Oh that's terrible, I hate when things like that happen. At least you gave your bird a safe comfortable place to rest, it would have been terrifying to get caught by another animal.
    When we have bird injuries here, I think we call the audobon society for advice. Depending on the type of bird, there are sometimes offers to take them in for rehab.