Friday, April 13, 2012

Are You My Mother?


I'm sure most of you have heard of Dr. Seuss and his book Are You My Mother and if you haven't read it, it's the story of a little bird that falls out of a tree and searches tirelessly for his mother, asking every living being along the way if they are his mother.

This is the true life story of just that bird.

Dialing the clock back a couple of years, a baby Robin fell from his nest that was snuggled in a Japanese Maple that stands nest to our Port-a-co.  We had a terrible rain storm the night before and I thought for sure he fell from the nest from strong winds.  I placed the little guy back in the nest, only to find him again, sometime later, back on the ground.  I soon realized this was no accident.  Momma Robin kicked him out.

I was bound and determined this little guy was not going to perish under my watch.  With birds making nests and leaving them behind, once the the little ones have grown and left the nest, I take them and display them in my potting shed.  I found a nice sized nest for this baby, placed it in an empty Hefty Trash Bag box and called it home for our new family member.

Heff at about 1 week old

Never raising a Robin before, I went on line to see just what to do.  I soon found what to feed him, how often to feed him, what kind of water he needed and the temperature of his little abode.  My gardener brought a special light for me to use, she took it from her son which was being used for his lizard.

We decided to name the bird, Heff.  Seeing he was being housed in the Hefty Trash box we thought that most appropriate.  When the birds are quite small worms are too heavy for their stomachs so I decided to pulverize some of Train's dog food (Train is my English Springer Spaniel), mix it with smashed up blueberries and sugar water.  I had to figure out how to dispense the food so my gardener cut the end of a straw in the shape of a beak. The food has to be placed halfway down the birds throat so I needed something that would hold the food in place while we fed him.  It worked perfectly.

Raising a bird is much like a baby.  Heff needed to be fed every hour on the hour, until it grew dark.  Each time he ate, he pooped, which needed to be taken out of the nest.  The nest has to be clean at all times.  You also have to make sure he stays hydrated with the temperature being 90+ degrees in his nesting area.  An eye dropper works very well to dispense water to him.

Heff being fed pulverized dog food, smashed blueberries mixed with sugar water

You will see during the course of this adventure how fast they grow.  I can only hope I will get the opportunity to raise more birds in my lifetime.  I found the entire experience totally fascinating, a joy, and my entire family got to see up close and personal the changes that take place as a baby Robin turns into an adult in a matter of a couple months.

I'm excited to share this past experience with you and hope you enjoy your time with Heff as much as I did.


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