May 25, 2007

Baby Robin Rescue 101

What not to do when rescueing a baby Robin....

The American Robin baby in this photo is called a "fledgling". This means that it is normal for it to skydive out of the nest and run around on the ground looking helpless. Don't try to put the baby back into the nest again as it does "headers" out of the nest and onto the ground. The baby knows it is time to leave the nest so that it can run around on the ground to build up leg strength before it learns to fly. The parents will continue to feed the baby at ground level and will teach the baby how to hide from predators and overly helpful humans.

Don't take the fledgling robin into the house and feed it worms. The parents are flying around making all that noise for a reason. You are invading their territory - they want you to leave the feeding to them.

Don't bother wiring up a natural colored basket with nesting material tucked inside next to the original nest. The fledgling will jump out of that too.

Don't worry about picking up baby birds that have fallen out of the nest when it gets blown out of your tree. Birds don't have a highly developed sense of smell so they will appreciate the helping hand. IF the babies are not in the fledgling stage, that is.

Don't feed baby Robins whole worms. This causes them to making gagging motions and the worm just crawls back out of the their beaks. Really gross to watch. Trust me on this. You have to break them into pieces first.

The little baby Robin in this photo was not harmed in spite of the rescue efforts by yours truly. He endured the overnight stay in my kitchen in his borrowed nest and ate about a half dozen juicy worms before he was set free the next morning. Where his parents were anxiously waiting for him. That same day his two siblings jumped out of the nest and the parents were frantically chasing them around in the shrubs attending to them. It was like the watching a Three Stooges episode. Luckily for the parents the fledgling stage only lasts two weeks.


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