1. Abraeri

    Abraeri Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello,

    I didn't know where to post this... but here goes.

    A bird's nest was removed from an awning in our church. The nest was placed under a nearby tree. It had 5 baby birds in it. Not wanting to leave it on the ground (putting it back wasn't an option) we brought it back home.

    They seem to be sparrow babies... they are really young - still haven't opened their eyes.

    How should we take care of these babies? I looked up wildlife rehabilitators near us, but I don't think any of them are open on Sunday.

    What should I feed them? I have duck food at my house (no cats or dogs) so I tried mashing the the duck feed pellets with some water. Is this okay? They are eating (and pooping). Since there are 5 of them they seem to be warm enough.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you

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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  2. JaeG

    JaeG Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm glad you rescued them. I found a website: www.starlingtalk.com that has information about sparrows. You can figure out how old your babies are and they have a recipe for what to feed them. Hope that helps. Good luck.
     
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  3. Abraeri

    Abraeri Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the info JaeG.

    Another update: One of the 5 birdies is having difficulty pooping. She moves out of the nest and tries to poop but only a few bubbles come out. Any suggestions on what could've caused this? And also any treatment? I haven't given her any solid food after and have dropped a bit of apple cider vinegar diluted in water into her throat.
     
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  4. Tenrec

    Tenrec Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there! I used to work with rehabbing raptors, and that sometimes included little songbirds that needed care until they could be driven to the songbird specialists.

    Since it's Monday, hopefully you can take them to a rehabber. Songbird chicks take a lot of intense, specialized care, and the rehabber will have the best formula for them to eat ready and on-hand.

    As for the species, did you see the mom and dad feeding the babies? The reason why I ask is, I'm not so sure those are house sparrow babies. The nest is also quite mossy for a house sparrow. If those are a native species, then what the church did - disturbing the nest of a native bird species, is illegal. It is not illegal for you to rescue them if they are in danger and hold them until you get a hold of a rehabber, for a period of time, though the laws on the amount of time you have vary state by state.

    Since you say they are eating and pooping, I will assume they are stable and you do not need to go through stabilizing care...They'd probably be dead by now regardless if they weren't and care wasn't provided. Songbirds, especially nestlings, are very fragile. Are they still begging for food? Begging and accepting the crop needle (syringe or other apparatus you use) is the most important sign of good health. Give them a good look-over.

    These babies need to be kept warm, just as your chicks do, until they reach fledgling stage. If they are not warm, they cannot process food. It is most important to warm them before you feed them. You should first fashion your own "nest" that you can keep clean for the babies. A small bowl lined with a good amount of paper towels will do. A heating pad will do to keep them warm. Monitor them and make sure they aren't too hot or cold, and adjust from there. They also need QUIET. Keep them away from too much people-noise.

    Since they've already pooped, you are ok to feed. Dehydration is not likely an issue, then, it won't hurt to check their skin. Dog and cat food are not a long-term replacement for these types of chicks. Duck food will not do. It's calories right now, though, so better than nothing. If you cannot access specialized songbird replacement formula, you will have to mix your own...There are a lot of recipes online and which one you use honestly depends on what's available to you...Just make sure it places a high importance on animal protein and calcium. Think slightly thicker than butternut squash soup, is how I can think to describe the consistency of what you want. Since you've already gotten them to eat, that's good and you probably already know, but a 1cc syringe is going to be a good crop needle. You're looking for them to make what are called "fecal sacs" at this age. Watch the poop consistency.

    At this age, everybody is probably going to eat 0.2-0.6cc. Honestly, the best way to tell is to look down their gullet as they eat and make sure nothing's coming back up. If stuff starts coming up/cllining to the side of your syringe, you know their limit. They WILL overeat if you let them. They're going to need to be fed every 20-30 minutes during waking hours. They will go to sleep when the sun goes down, and wake up when the sun comes back up. When they get to fledgling stage, it's ok to feed them every hour. Keep them CLEAN...don't let food or poop crust up on them.

    When they get older, modifications will have to be made to their diet, as well as their housing situation.

    Hopefully you can find a rehabber, or have already found a rehabber. Please let us know how this goes!
     
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  5. Tenrec

    Tenrec Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Describe the bubbles coming out?

    I haven't heard of giving songbird nestlings diluted vinegar. They can be very sensitive to what you're putting in them and how you're doing it.

    If she's constipated, hold her butt in some warm (not hot!) water. You can try very gently massaging the abdomen/butt area. What does her crop feel like? It should be empty when it's time for her next feeding, or she can develop constipation or impacted crop.
     
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  6. Abraeri

    Abraeri Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for the reply! :) I did not see the parents unfortunately, I just did some research and of the pictures these looked most similar to house sparrow babies.

    By bubbles I mean she attempts to push the poop sac out but a lot of small bubbles come out and the poop sac isn't coming through. I tried putting it in warm water... but I didn't want to handle it too much since they are really young and I don't want to hurt anything internally.

    They are eating well (every 15-20 minutes) and pooping (except for one). I added a mashed boiled egg to the duck food mash for some extra protein. Thankfully I am able to provide food for them regularly since I do online school. All except the one who isn't pooping seem to be healthy and are eating a lot.

    I tried calling one of the local rehabbers today, but she didn't pick up the phone. I will try again tomorrow.

    Do you think if tomorrow we went to the church area and replaced the nest in a nearby tree the parents might come back? It was raining that day on Sunday and we didn't have any materials on hand so we brought it home, since of course we didn't just want to leave it on the ground.

    I really want these babies to survive. I've read about house sparrows, and apparently some rehabbers won't take them in since they are invasive species? You suggested that these weren't sparrows, do you have any suggestions what else they may be. It would be helpful if I was able to tell the rehabber what type of bird it is.

    Thank you so much for your response :)


    EDIT: Oh yeah, and they're doing a great job of keeping the nest clean. They always scoot out of the nest before pooping so the poop always falls onto the newspaper I have underneath :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
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  7. Tenrec

    Tenrec Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, it sounds like she might be constipated. You won't hurt anything as long as you are very gentle with her. I know how frighteningly fragile they are though! It's rough even looking at them hahaha.

    Glad you're able to be super attentive to these guys. That really makes all the difference for them. Make sure they're getting enough calcium, too. When we were lacking anything but dog food for our jays (again, not a great formula), we'd have to supplement them with a bit of cal glub solution.

    Hopefully you get somebody! They can be very busy people...And some rehabbers are, admittedly, a little reclusive.

    If you put the nest back in a safe, sheltered area (or secure a basket), the parents might still be around. It usually takes them about 2 days to give up. You will have to watch for them and make sure they are coming to the nest...The parenting instinct is very strong in songbirds, though, so it may work once they hear their babies begging. I would definitely give that a shot.

    You are right that most rehabbers won't take in a house sparrow (they will take other sparrows though) or a starling, as they are indeed invasive. It is also not illegal to destroy a house sparrow or starling nest, and it is not illegal to own these species, at least under federal laws, as long as you are also working within general animal cruelty laws.

    The amount of moss in that nest makes me wonder if they aren't some kind of parid (family that includes chickadees and titmice), which always include moss in their housing plans...Our parids are cavity-nesters, though, and I'm not sure what the particular set-up was in the awning. You'd be surprised at what a cavity-nester THINKS is a cavity, however.

    House sparrows are also cavity nesting birds, which is part of why they're so destructive to our native cavity-nesters...If you look at the house sparrow nests, most of them almost have a little "roof" and are made mostly of sticks/dry grass. They don't tend to use the abundance of moss you have there, especially at the base.

    I've seen instances of house sparrows nesting in open areas, and, as an invasive species, they are incredibly resourceful, so that doesn't 100 percent rule out house sparrow...But that just doesn't look like your average house sparrow to me at all.

    edit: Excellent! Makes your job a lot easier lol
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
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  8. Abraeri

    Abraeri Out Of The Brooder

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    I personally didn't see them take the nest down (or I would've stopped them lol)... but I'm positive it was in the corner. I'll try to get a picture of the constipated baby within an hour. We're planning to go buy some cat food tomorrow (it's better than duck food) so maybe we can stop by the church before and try leaving the babies and monitoring to see if the parents come back. I've only had experience raising ducklings, which are precocial, so I have absolutely no idea how to handle these poor little things.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
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  9. Abraeri

    Abraeri Out Of The Brooder

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    Here's pictures. The bottom area seems red. You asked about the crop... not really sure where it is so I took a picture of her underside... her skin is clear so you can see everything inside. Hopefully they are helpful... if you want more specific pictures I can take some.

    EDIT: also an update on the other guys... one of them has opened her/his eyes a little and will open her mouth when the tweezers (which I use to feed them) comes near.

    [​IMG]


    Here's it trying to poop...

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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
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  10. Abraeri

    Abraeri Out Of The Brooder

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    UPDATE: I got the baby birdie to poop. Woohoo!

    Thank you so much for the help. I will try either a) replacing them in church vicinity or b) call a wildlife rehabilitator tomorrow. Hopefully they will get a wonderful safe home!
     
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