I walked by our Avian Nursery this afternoon and was surprised to hear all sorts of chirping. In the past 24 hours, we went from only a few birds placed in our Orphan Outreach Program, to a nursery with nearly a dozen birds in it. Nesting season is upon us.
This group of young House Finches came in this morning (I love the wispies on their heads!):
This fledgling-stage robin also was admitted this morning and to be honest, we were a bit surprised at how old it is already:
Young robins, like many other bird species, leave the nest before they can fly. That’s why you always see the spotted robins hopping around the yard, hiding under your shrubs, etc. They leave the nest simply because there’s not enough room in it for their flight feathers to develop. Think about how small a nest is, add four growing robins and you can envision the space problem!
They’ll spend 5-9 days on the ground learning to search for food, taking practice flights and picking up tips from their parents on how to evade predators.
A reminder that fledglings should be left alone. This is an important stage of development necessary for them to lead successful lives in the wild. We realize it is stressful if there are feral cats in the neighborhood, or if your neighbor leaves their own cat(s) out, but the robins need to learn to survive. Hopefully, if you point out the cute young robins to your cat-owning neighbors, they’ll agree to keep their cat indoors for the next couple of weeks.
Of course, mistakes are part of the learning curve and accidents will happen to young birds. If you notice a fledgling dragging a wing, not able to stand or worse yet actually pry it out of a dog or cat mouth, you can certainly bring it in. That’s why we’re here!