Our home and garden are bird and wildlife friendly. Probably the garden is more wildlife friendly than we'd like because we are overrun with squirrels and chipmunks. We do like the birds but along with the great amount of birds comes problems. In any population there is a natural order to living and dying. If you don't have a lot of birds in your yard you may not notice the dying part but here in Tiger Gardens we have a LOT of birds and a lot of baby birds. Many are the dead kind. Some fall from nests, predators get others, but still others do well. Recently we had a difficult situation with some robins.
Mr. Fix-it took his truck downtown and while downtown shopping he heard a bird chirping at him. He looked in the bed of his truck and what should he see but a baby robin. Poor thing. It happened to be raining and hailing at the time. He called me and asked what he should do. I knew the robins around the garden were in the fledgling stage so I had a pretty good idea what kind of bird it was and where it came from. It seems I may have been wrong on where it came from but at any rate back to the story.
Mr. Fix-it took the baby robin into the cab of his truck and gently placed it in a box for safe keeping until he could get home. I figured this baby came from this robin's nest on top of my PVC arbor. It took but a few minutes to get out the ladder and climb up to place the bird back in its nest with its two siblings. The problem was that the silly baby bird was not going to cooperate. Normally baby birds are trained well to hide and stay quiet unless their parents are around. This baby bird, having been out of the nest and hungry, wasn't having any part of staying put and being quiet. It quickly jumped out of the nest and fell down the gelsemium vine along the arbor-not once but twice!
That's when I came up with the brilliant idea to make it a nest of its own and place the new 'nest' next to the robin's nest. Content the baby would be safe and would not fall out of its nest anymore, Mr. Fix-it and I stood back to watch our handiwork. Ha! The mother or father (I can't tell them apart but both were close by) came to feed the babies but only fed the two that were in the nest. Uh oh. Well, we decided to feed our baby so we gathered worms and the baby hungrily scarfed them down but this was not a workable solution for any of us.
My next not so brilliant idea was to create a lip for the nest so the orphaned baby bird could stay in the nest with its siblings. As I was placing the lip around the nest the two baby robin residents decided they'd had enough and jumped out. Geez! Mr. Fix-it was chasing them down and I was still busily putting the new improved nest together. All good intentions mind you. We lost track of one of the babies but since it was evening time and since the parents were nearby we knew as long as we kept the dogs inside the baby would most likely be safe. The other two were placed back in the new improved nest and we again stood back to watch our handiwork. The parents came back and fed both of the babies! Including the orphan that Mr. Fix-it had found in the back of the truck.
Here is the funny part. After comparing our orphan with the other two babies already present in the nest we realized the orphan was maybe a day or two younger than the two in the nest. This meant that the orphan baby was not part of the PVC arbor nest after all! It seems that there is another robin's nest in the oak tree out front. We figured our orphaned baby robin fell from the nest from out front into the truck since the truck was parked under the tree. At any rate, the parents accepted the orphan and began feeding it along with its own. All's well that ends well right? Well, this story is not over yet. Hence the frustration.
The next day we went out to check on the robins and the two original baby birds were gone. They'd flown the nest. Our orphan was still in the nest, though not in the original nest. It had moved to the pseudo nest (the flower pot). We believed the parents were still feeding this baby as they were close by and scolding us as we looked at the lone orphan. We were hopeful for a good outcome for our orphan but it seemed like the baby may have injured its wing when it fell from the tree. There were no vines there to break its fall when it landed in the back of the truck.
The next day we checked on the orphan again; only to find it had died. With all best intentions to save this baby robin we could not. Sometimes nature is like this and I tell you it can be a cruel thing to feel helpless while a living thing dies.
I open this post with the fact that many animals die. Over the past few years as our yard has become more wildlife friendly due to the dense shrubs and vegetation we have noticed many more dead baby birds. It is always heartbreaking to us but we witness this part of life. While we try to help them out as we can we really can't do much but hope for the best for the baby birds....
in the garden....
Happy Memorial Day to Everyone!Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden