Monday, May 30, 2011

I Get So Frustrated By the Birds!


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


  1. I chuckled at all your valiant efforts, Tina, until the end, of course. It is a sad fact of life, unfortunately, that so many of these little babies never make it. When strong storms swept through our area last week, we had a number of fallen nests in the yard and several baby birds that had apparently drowned. There's only so much you can do, but you sure gave it a great try. Do I spy some soft doggie hair in the pseudo-nest?

    I hope you are celebrating this Memorial Day--our heartfelt thanks to you and your family for all your service to our country.

  2. With Babies around, it always make life very busy and endless monitoring:). We also have many birds drop from nest that were built in high trees during windy winter days. Very sad. Always buried them on the veggie patch. Seeing them with broken bones or something else makes me forget about gardening the whole day. So sad.

  3. Been there and done that many times, Tina, with birds that have fallen from the nest, or jumped out or birds that have been discovered by our cats.

    I deal with it by thinking it's nature's way and we are usually just delaying the inevitable.

    I applaud you and your husband for your efforts.

  4. Everyone enjoy their day. We hope to go see the miniature replica of the Vietnam War Memorial that is set up at Fort Campbell (It it is still there that is)

    Rose, Good catch! My wonderful neighbor shaved both of my goldens and I thought the fur would be a great nest material. It really was.

    MKG, It is indeed sad when the babies perish. Nature can be so cruel at times.

  5. Nancy, That's a great way of looking at it and you are so right.

  6. That sure was a valiant effort. Sorry it did not turn out as you intended.

    Thanks to all the people who have and do serve this great country we call America. It may not be perfect (and what is) but it is the best in the world and without our selfless military it would not be what it is.

  7. I always feel sad seeing this kind of thing too Tina but I also have a soft heart so I would have gone to the trouble you and your husband did. I think you're seeing more death because there are more nests (being that your garden is more wildlife friendly). I've noticed the more I plant, the more birds want to nest here too. It doesn't lessen the blow but at least you are giving many more birds a place to call home.
    P.S. Yesterday I saw a blue jay eating a baby bird he had pulled out of a nest ~ I hate that too. :-(

  8. You definitely went above and beyond. With all the times I've tried to save baby birds, even with heat lamps and food made in the cuiseart, not one has lived. All we, as humans, can do is try.

  9. Happy Memorial Day and lets not forget the reason for this being a day from work. Not just a holiday.....

    The Saint and I were at the edges of our seats as I read this story. Too sad for the ending though. You put forth your best efforts. And I too spotted the doggie fur... Sounds just like something we would do to help out a tragic moment in nature’s world. We must remind our self that if every bird born survived, there would be way too many out there for nature to support. The weak become meals for others. Such is the cycle of life. Not pretty at times though…

    We finally have walls in the bathroom and closet! Today, we rest our aches and pains after a working frenzy from 10:00am until 11:00pm yesterday. Our body’s feel the full day of work. My shoulder is killing me and painful to sit at the computer but I have my cozy office chair back as well…. Yippee….

  10. Tina, you bonded with baby bird and that's what makes all that much harder. When I'd see birds on the ground and whatnot as a kid, my dad would tell me to leave it be. Survival of the fittest, he'd say. I thought that was just mean so my brother and I would sneak and "save" the creature. We never succeeded. Even at this ripe old age, the lesson behind Survival of the Fittest is a tough one for me to grasp.

  11. I know you were heartbroken to find the little orphaned robin dead. You tried above and beyond to save it. Poor little thing.
    Nature has its own way though, doesn't it? I feel so bad about the birds hitting the window in the dining room. Finally got some silhouettes to put on the outside of the window to keep them from flying into it.

  12. Mom, We tried and just knew it would work but that is the way it is sometimes. We are heading to see a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial soon. Will be thinking of dad and the names of his friends on it.

    Kathleen, That is so awful the bluejay eating a baby bird. Poor little thing! There is not much you can do there for sure.

    Alexis, I have to smile at bird food being processed in the Cuisinart:)

    Congrats Skeeter and the Saint! Job well done. We know sheetrock and renovations are not easy by any means. Keep it going! A long day indeed!

    Wendy, Your father is a very wise man. Survival of the fittest is just as applicable today as in Darwin's day I think. It's still a tough thing.

    Good deal on the silhouettes Janet. I hope it makes a difference for the poor little birds.

  13. So sorry to hear of your little bird. You tried so hard to keep him alive. Even our best efforts fail sometimes. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday! Carla

  14. A friend of mine volunteers at a local historic property, and they have been trying to persuade a colony of white egrets to find another home for their rookery. Nothing has worked until we had a very violent storm last week. She said there were dead chicks everywhere. It sounded very sad.

  15. Well, I wasn't expecting that! After reading through your post, so well written with humor and resolve, I was not expecting a tragic ending. Now you're making me cry! :(

  16. Wow kudos to you & Mr. Fix-it Tina, you went above and beyond for that poor baby bird.

  17. You certainly tried. I'm glad to hear the parents too in the orphan even if it didn't end as you had hoped. We try not to get involved but sometimes one can't help themselves. I put a nest back earlier this spring and two of the eggs. One egg was broke but I didn't know how long the others had been under the tree. I don't think it worked as there never were any baby birds in the nest.

  18. That is sad but baby birds are so vulnerable.. :(