A while ago I walked the familiar little path to my chicken coop for the morning feeding routine; It was a weekend, so the sun was up by the time I got around to this chore. Nothing was amiss on my way there, but on my way back, a little baby bird had fallen from its nest directly onto my chicken-coop path. I looked at it, it looked at me, and we both blinked.
I couldn’t very well just leave it there, my cat was out prowling and the bird would not last long—all helpless and naked. I called to my husband to bring over a dish towel, threw the towel in the chicken water bowl and put the baby bird inside the bowl. There, in my chicken’s water bowl, it sat on my porch until I could figure out what to do with it. My quick internet search provided two options: put it back in the nest, or feed the thing every two hours for the next several weeks. Option two was clearly out—although I have raised baby birds successfully before, it was a long time ago: before steady employment and when staying up all night was still considered “fun”. No, nature would have to take care of this little baby bird.
I surveyed the area where I had found the baby bird, deciding to go with option one. I did locate the nest—thirty feet up.
By this time Momma Bird had made a few passes near my screened-in porch, where the baby was chirping bloody murder in the water bowl. Surely Momma Bird didn’t care if her baby was in the proper nest, so long as the baby was accessible?
I found an old plastic cereal bowl that I didn’t mind sacrificing to the cause and had hubby drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage. I folded in a few paper towels as makeshift bedding, and fetched an 8’ stepladder. Hubby climbed the ladder and attached the new ‘nest’ as high up on the tree trunk as he could reach (same tree that the original nest was in). It took some trial and error; hubby had to use a shim before the nest would sit fairly flat and not tip over. I carefully picked up the baby and gently placed it in its new nest. Within 30 minutes Momma Bird made her first landing there, and I left them alone.
A week later out of curiosity I drug the ladder back out and took a peek in the nest. Baby Bird was still there—much bigger, and it blinked at me again. Two weeks after that I took another peek and Baby Bird was gone. Don’t know if he grew up and flew away, or fell out again and succumbed to my cat. I chose to believe the former. I watched the nest for a few days, and after not seeing any more traffic, unscrewedthe nest. It is now living it’s third life as a holder for mis-matched screwes. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
So, if you ever find yourself blinking at a fallen baby bird from a far-up nest and frantically searching the web for advice while wondering if you will have to quit your job, try option three.