HALP! a birdie out [UPDATE: Happy Ending!]


This fledgling blue jay somehow ended up on the basket of my bicycle in my carport. (Yes, I have a basket on my bicycle. Don’t judge; it allows me to do carbon-free light shopping.) It’s been there for a couple of hours now, and I don’t think it can fly well enough to get back to the nest, wherever that is.

I’ve seen an anxious parent hanging about, but it seems as helpless to act as the little bird. Some of the neighbors have roaming cats, and I’m afraid the little one will come to a bad end. Is there anything I can do? I’m willing to capture worms for it, though I don’t think I’m up to masticating them and spitting them out in its beak. Any bird dilemma advice would be much appreciated.

UPDATE: After being faithfully fed by its parents for nearly a day, the little birdie found the strength to fly out of the carport (and presumably back to its nest). We’ve had a steady rain for quite awhile, and maybe that was what was keeping him or her on the bike basket—it flew off in a lull between storms a short while ago. The only unhappy thing about this episode is that the fledgling and parents shat all over my bike. Oh well. 

Posted by Betty Cracker on 06/30/09 at 07:07 PM • Permalink

Categories: Critters

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I hate situations like this. If it got there, though, it probably can get back eventually, especially if the parents know where it is. Keeping predators away seems the most importnt thing you can do..

We had this happen once when I was a kid.  My mom and I put the little guy in a shoebox full of rags then dropped him off at a wildlife rescue.

(also, I’m sure it’s just coincidence, but the ad for bird aviaries up top is a nice touch)

Betty, unless you can find the nest or have a porch roof or some other elevated area away (from the cats) where you can rig up a little hangout for the guy, you’re going to have to be Mommy for a bit.

Some useful tips are here. However, if you Google “caring for wild baby birds,” all kinds of helpful links pop up.

Blue jays fledge early. He should be all right if mom/dad is hanging around. Maybe rig up a place that he can run into if a predator gets too close. The fact that he got on your bike basket tells me he can achieve lift off if he needs to.

No need for worms. Jays like to eat all sorts of things, so if you have unsalted nuts or seeds, this bird will love you for it. Mature Jays really like peanuts. For this one, unsalted sunflower seeds or something like that.

The parents will also try to feed the youngster if at all possible. But the safety issue is paramount. If you have a local wildlife rescue org, call them and ask them what to do. You may have to capture it, put it in a box and get to someone who can care for it. It’s baby season, so this is a common occurrence.

I would bring it inside, put it in a big box and feed it some seeds. Make some calls and you can save the bird from a less pleasant fate.

Betty, there is probably somebody trained to rehabilitate wildlife in your area. I’m going to the Audubon website; be right back.

If I were to caption that pic, it would read:


Wikipedia article about wildlife rehabilitators

Wildlife rehabilitators for the Southeast

Birder’s World Article
The number one advice they give is not to try to keep it yourself; it’s illegal. Rehabilitators have to undergo licensing.

I hope the little guy gets settled in a nice situation; he at least flew into the right carport!

Betty, God forbid this should turn out badly. However, if the worst should happen, I’ve found a Web site that cheerfully describes the blue jay as a “suburban potluck delight” and “nature’s ready-to-heat poultry snack-on-a-stick.”

Flag me if you need the URL. If nothing else, you can continue the story in a unique and memorable Food Pr0n post.

Soaked dog kibble, no lie. Once they’re so squishy they’re about to come apart offer him a piece—-you might have to pop his beak open, but once it’s in there he’ll do the rest.

He might be ready to eat on his own, I dunno. I’m not even sure how to get ‘em to that point; as far as I can tell, the programming just kicks in one day and they start pecking.

I’ve hand-raised a couple birds but both times they got too man-friendly to survive on the outside. Maybe you should be an asshole to him. Snide remarks, constant undermining, that sort of thing.

UPDATE: He or she made it through the night! Thanks everyone, for the advice and laffs. I’m going to call the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary (a local outfit) when they open this morning and see what they think. My daughter and I rescued a gull with a broken wing last year and brought it to them, and they were terrific. They specialize in seabirds but will help out other species as well.

Sometimes I really hate you, Strange. I had typed up a fake baby bluebird recipe before I read your comment.

*shakes fist*

The bird should be OK, lay our some raw peanuts and stay clear of the area so the parents can tend to him.

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