Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I became a mother...for two days.
Last Friday, I had the pleasure (and panic) of becoming a Mama Robin for two days. I found a helpless, hungry, motherless fledgling robin in the yard chirping up a storm. He wasn't scared of me at all and we bonded immediately. He followed me around and even let me feed him. Poor guy was starving and so weak. I dug up a few worms, mashed them up, put them on my finger and dropped them in his wide open mouth. Cuuuute. I also fed him some wet pieces of bread, which he gobbled up quickly. Turns out, you're not supposed to feed them worms or bread...whoops. Their digestive systems can't handle it. Dry cat or dog food mixed with water until it turns into the consistency of yogurt is the way to go. What would we do without the internet and chat rooms? I also learned that it's a myth that humans shouldn't handle birds. They don't have noses, so the idea of birds rejecting their young because they have a human scent on them is completely false.
I spoke with the Toronto Wildlife Centre and they directed me to Dianne, a woman who lives in Stayner (2 hours north of Toronto, close to Collingwood) who rescues and rehabilitates baby birds, raccoons, possums, and yes...even squirrels! The Wildlife Centre has a limit of how many baby birds they accept because they don't have the manpower to look after them. During the spring months, they are inundated with calls about abandoned baby birds. So I had two options, drive to Stayner or have the bird euthanized. Obviously it wasn't a difficult choice.
It's true, baby robins are A LOT of work. They require feeding every half hour to an hour for the first couple weeks!! Thankfully not at night though. Baby (my very original name for him) slept in our bedroom, in a box filled with paper towel and a towel in the shape of a doughnut to act as a nest. I put a heating pad under the box so he would be warm enough too. Best sleepover ever, though the little bugger woke up at 5:30am...and the feeding cycle started again.
But Baby was looking so much stronger and healthier the next morning. It was night and day actually. He was much more alert and even tried to fly a bit, though it was more of a hop fly. And still so hungry. The whole 'eats like a bird' expression, completely false. They eat. A lot.
Saturday afternoon Jean and I drove Baby up to Stayner to meet his new mama, Dianne. What an incredible woman she is, a total Godsend. She is the only one doing this kind of rescue and rehabilitation, because "you have to be crazy to do all this work for free," she says. Dianne doesn't get paid or have help and relies heavily on donations. And trust me, it is SO MUCH WORK to take care of baby birds, let alone coons (she currently has 20 babies), possums, skunks, squirrels...etc.
If you'd like to make a donation then please get in touch with me. Any amount helps! Thanks so much!
Baby will be released in two weeks and will go on to live as a country bird. Until then, he'll be chumming around with another baby robin that Dianne rescued a few days ago. They're the same age and everything. Love it.
Here are some...ok, A LOT of photos of my Baby. And yes, I miss him very much.
This is how I found him. Not alert and very lethargic. Couldn't very well turn my back on this now could I?
So very hungry.
Feeding time. One of many.
A little grumpy.
More food now please.
Food! And head stroking.
Time for bed.
Saying my goodbyes to Baby.
To the beautiful country! Where Baby will now live out his happy life.
Posted by Imelda at 30.6.09