Nice weather = lots of requests for help

May 19, 2024

It's been a busy weekend (as expected) with calls pouring in from around the UK. Just today we have had calls from as far apart as Edinburgh and Portsmouth, and numerous calls from the London area; which at this time of year is a fair indication that a local rescue is full, and unable to admit further casualties at this time - hence people hit the Internet, and find our Helpline service is happy to help.


Very few birds this weekend needed more than supportive assistance; lots of issues with cat attacks - but rescuers with uninjured birds were content to simply give a sugared water drink to help with the shock, and re-release back into the garden having removed the predatory cat, and using the citrus fruit method to create a safe zone for the young bird to continue its development within the garden.


Just occasionally however, the bird IS out of the nest too early (such as with the two magpie nestlings I was asked about today); these are only about 2 1/2 - 3 weeks old and need another 10-14 days in the nest, so unless they were able to be returned to the nest, then they WOULD have had to go to a wildlife rescue centre.


It is very important for ALL baby birds (but especially Corvids - the crow family) that you do not try to rear at home on their own. They will rapidly imprint upon you, which means they will become tame very quickly which in many cases will prove fatal when trying to return them to the wild later on. With crows/magpies there is an added danger as they associate humans with food, and the crossover of tapping the parents beak to be fed, and pecking peoples faces for the same outcome does not bear thinking about. Every year I hear of children and babies being attacked in this way - but the bird is not at fault, sadly the finder did not take it to a rescue to be reared with other birds so that it stays minded in the bird-world, and doesn't see itself as a 'person'. Sadly these birds often have to be euthanised as they are too badly mentally damaged to be hacked back to the wild, and remain a danger to both people and other birds & animals.


Birds will always survive best if they are wary of humans; we can always make friends with the birds in the garden such as the robin and blackbirds coming for freshly dug worms - but that should always be their choice and not through imprinting.


Nigel

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