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Okay, I am attempting to rescue a baby bird named Gerald who is living on my stoop. Have you ever tried to rescue an animal? Did they hate you for it? Did they live?

-- Kymm (, June 07, 2000


Everything I have ever tried to rescue has died. I've come to find out that wild baby animals can't have even the least little bit of stress. You have to touch them as little as possible and keep them in a covered box (with holes in the top of course). I always tried to make them feel safe by cuddling them and all but that's the worst thing to do really.

-- Amy T. (, June 07, 2000.

I promise I will never, ever do this again, Kymm, but I just wrote the whole sordid history of myself and wild, baby birds last month, and my fingers is too tired to type it again. (I guess I could paste it, but that would so clutter up the forum.)

So, here's me, shamefully pimping Saundra Birdkiller.

(See, from the title, you can already guess how well it went!)

-- Saundra (, June 07, 2000.

I rescued a wild baby rabbit once. He was an orphan, I think. I found him in the back yard. I named him George. After my older brother. The most unrabbitlike person I know. Even as a youngster I had a sense of irony.

We fed George (the rabbit) with an eyedropper. We kept him for a few weeks and then released him at the park, away from the danger of dogs and cars. His little white tailed bopped through the grass, and then he was gone.

That was the year that we had a fox rabies scare, and they put out poisoned bait to kill the foxes. The result was a serious rabbit population explosion.

-- Laura (, June 07, 2000.

For a time that was part of my job.

I was the manager of a "pet adoption center" (aka no-kill shelter) and at least twice a month I'd get to work to find a box full of kittens or puppies on my doorstep. About half the time they were far, far too young to have been weened. It seemed I was always carrying a group of babies home with me for night time bottle feedings.

My most famous and certainly BEST rescue is a little critter that has all but rescued me. Of course, I'm talking about Allie Gator. I saved her from a garbage bag when she was about 2 1/2 - 3 weeks old. She was the only one of a litter of 8 still alive when they were found.

In all the rescues I've done, I only ever lost one kitten and that was well after he was off bottle. He was one of two I had named Peter and Wendy. He died a day after Wendy was placed in a good home.

-- Jackie (, June 07, 2000.

My wife rescued a gamer once who was living out on the street, but I don't think that counts. Makes for a good story when the United Way come calling, though; they asked her once what she had done for the homeless, and she replied, "I took one into my home and gave him a place to live. By the time he moved out, he had a job, a car, a truck, 3 motorcycles, a wife and two kids."

We don't hear from the United Way much these days.

-- Colin (, June 07, 2000.

When I was around twelve, my mother rescued a baby bird, a robin I think, and made a nest for it on a hanging basket on our patio (to keep it high, away from our hunter of a cat). It became very tame and sat on my mother's shoulder, singing and stuff. (My mother is really good with animals.) But then our cat figured out how to sort of leap up at the hanging basket and the last my mother saw of the little bird was a few feathers sticking out of our cat's mouth. She was devastated. Make sure you keep your cats away from Gerald, Kymm! And good luck!

-- Stephany Aulenback (, June 07, 2000.

It was the most amazing experience... When I was a little girl living in the caribbean, some cruel kids killed a parrot and a guy that worked with my dad brought me the baby that was in the nest. It had no feathers and a look of despair. I fed it squished bananas and fruits, learned progressively how to meet its needs and it grew into a nice amazonian right in my room. Every morning it would clime up on my bed and try to clean my hair. It learned how to repeat all that was said and even knew how to bark like the dogs. It was a very funny and bird always trying to get attention or affection. I could not let it wander free because of the cruelty of the kids in the neighborhood, but everytime he escaped (it was smart and always managed to do what it wanted), it would come back or stay around somewhere in the garden. One day he did not return, I never found out what happened. I just hope he did not share the same faith as

-- Christina (, June 07, 2000.

Ah, thank you all for those heartwarming dead animal stories. Particularly Saundra's, which just really emphasized the fact that I want the children to stay the hell away from Gerald. I'll try to keep him out of the toilet as well.

The cats are another matter. Even when they go in the backyard they are closed off from my steps, but it is possoble to open the gate (not the cats, but if Cynthia or the kids come out, sometimes they don't close the gate), so if they go out I will keep a gimlet eye on said gate.

The funny thing is, though, that Baldrick has taken up sentry duty at the door, the one where Gerald is on the other side. His nose is pressed against the crack underneath, his eyes bulge, he's like the Great Kitty Hunter.

I was grateful to read a couple of happy endings, though, thanks very much for posting.

-- Kymm Zuckert (, June 07, 2000.

Oh! I do have a happy ending story, but it's not a bird! It's a box turtle. It was wandering across the road and my brother and I spotted it from the bus windows. We shrieked at the driver until she stopped, and we ran out and scooped him right up. Brought him home, set him up a beautiful aquarium, where he lived with us very, very happily for several years until he got too big to keep. We marked him with a little red fingernail polish dot on his shell, and took him down to the creek to set him free. Going back to check on him periodically, we managed to find him over and over again, bigger and bigger. Eventually, we couldn't find him anymore- there were lots of turtles and fingernail polish is only so durable, but that's my one wild animal success story!

Unless you count the feral hamster we had. . .

-- Saundra (, June 08, 2000.

Last spring a mother bird built a nest in the ivy-twined heart I have hanging by the front door. Six eggs were laid and duly hatched and we all took to going out the garage door so as not to disturb the babies. When they were about a week old there was a terrible kathumping on the porch and all but one baby was gone. Cat, I expect. Over my husband's objections I brought the baby in--I couldn't leave it there to just wait. It lived in a shoebox next to the bed at night on a kleenex nest. I gave it oatmeal mixed with water and hardboiled egg yolk. It would eat a dropperful a day and whole droppers of water. During the day it sat in its nest. Two days later it was out in its nest and a male bird came and called it and helped it fly off the porch and into a tree and thence into the world. My mother did this same thing when I was about 10--one of my favorite memories is of her trying to teach the baby to fly. She did too and though she'd had the bird about 2 weeks, a male came to the screen door one day and called the bird and Mother opened the door and the baby flew out. She cried but felt great!

-- Karen (, June 08, 2000.

Kymm, we rescued a baby woodpecker a few years back. He'd been injured and no mother in sight to feed him. We ended up keeping him in a cat crate (grin) with twigs poking through so he could hop around and exercise his injured foot by holding on.

The local pet store sold me cheap baby-bird formula and I fed him with a syringe. I also had to give him water from the syringe at first because he wasn't very keen on getting it out of the bowl until he grew. But he did grow and learned and started trying to fly. We let him go in the house a few times and he flew better each time and when it got to the point where we were having to chase the little bugger down, it was time to let him go free.

Because of his injured foot, he was easy to recognize. And we saw him for years in the back-yard, successfully integrated back into the wild. He did, on rare occasions, fly close by and land within touch, but mostly, he just did "fly-bys" as if he was just checking in to say hello.

And yes, we named him "Woody."

-- toni (, June 08, 2000.

If the mother bird is nearby, she's feeding Gerald for you (hah!). Baby birds are like toddlers. They're curious or clumsy, and they fall or get out of the nest all the time, and their parents just continue to feed them wherever they land. They are often bird-napped by well-meaning people. Well-meaning, but not really thinking the whole thing through, I guess. Just keep the kitties indoors, and enjoy your wild encounter.

If you happen to be a Darwinist, remember that birds reproduce at a greater rate than their environment can carry, because they are pretty low on the food chain. (I know that sounds heartless, but it's true.)

-- Kate (, June 08, 2000.

You know you've left the christmas decorations up too long when the first birds of spring build a nest in the wreath by the front door so you can't take it down until the chicks have grown up and flown away. That's our story and we're sticking with it; we're still trying to justify leaving the lights up...

Oh, and as far as I know, the gamer's still alive. Two of the motorcycles didn't run, though.

-- Colin (, June 08, 2000.

When I was a kid, my sister and I found a robin's egg on the ground and brought it home. We made a little nest for it and kept it near the stove so it would stay warm. One day we came home from school and it had hatched! We fed it with an eyedropper; I don't remember what we fed it though. Sadly, it did die a few days later.

On a happier note, when my mom was a kid, she rescued an injured baby squirrel, nursed him back to health, and let him go. I believe he came back to visit now and then, so you can count that one successful!

Good luck!

-- Catherine (, June 08, 2000.

5 years ago, my wife and I were on one of our weekend visits home from Toronto to St. Catharines to see our various relatives. We had gone to my Mom's one night for dinner and had started driving back to the in-laws when Lisa started complaining of horrible heartburn and insisting we stop so I can run into a convenience store and pick up some antacid tablets. We pulled into a combination Winks/Esso station near a Zellers (think Walmart) store.

On my way out from the store with Tums in hand, I saw she had rolled her window down and was directing my attention to a little black kitten that had followed a gaggle of teenagers across the Zellers parking lot from a nearby townhouse complex. The tiny fluff ball was confidently strutting across the gas station area, right towards the busy thoroughfare.

I tossed the Tums through the open window and made my way cautiously towards the beast, so as not to startle it. The kitten casually stopped under a bush, dug in the dirt and did its business. When it was finished, I was close enough to call it over. It trotted up to see me and I scooped it up and brought it to the safety of our car. It was a female kitten and had a red collar, so we figured someone had lost it.

We drove around the area for about 15 minutes, all the while the little thing was making itself quite at home on Lisas lap. Couldn't see anyone looking for it, so we took it back with us.

5 years later, Megan is still a part of our feline family and still just as bold and friendly.

Oh, regarding the heartburn? Disappeared the instant Lisa saw Megan the kitten. Can we say sign from above?

-- Ron Collings (, June 08, 2000.

Yes! I did try to rescue a baby robin once, although it was unborn. Sound unbelievable? Read on!

Last year I left my holiday wreath on my door for far too long. One day in March I finally got around to taking it down, but noticed that a robin had built a nest in the wreath! Yep, right in there, right IN the wreath. I decided that I couldn't take the wreath down, but neither could I just leave it on its precarious perch that was the slender nail I'd tacked into my door upon which it hung (hope you followed that). I mean, I came and in and out of that door all the time, and the mailman approached it each afternoon to drop my mail through the slot in my front door that is my mailbox.

Anyway, I put a stronger nail into one of the pillars on my porch and hung the wreath there. I imagined that by Spring a mother robin would be raising her children on my porch, singing to me as I sat there reading in the lazy afternoons. I imagined an experience much like Stephany (above) reports that she actually had, as a child. In this imaginary vision, I was always drinking ice tea, and there were Polynesian women nearby fanning me with palm fronds and asking if I was sure I wouldn't rather have a mint julip.

Anyway, the mother robin promptly abandoned the nest. All my friends said OF COURSE she abandoned the nest, YOU MOVED IT! One week later I found the nest on my porch, upside down, the eggs gone, no trace. Apparently the pillar was not as safe from the neighborhood cats as I had supposed. I threw out the wreath. I felt bad.

I hope this helped. Good luck!


-- Sean Carman (, August 19, 2001.

Hi. I tried to save a little bird a few days ago, but it was a dismal failure. Of course, in reflection, I now know it's because I probably held it too much in an attempt to cram feedstuffs down it's throat. It wasn't eating.. it wouldn't eat bread.. birdseed. Were I to try making insect mush and try that.. would it have help? I rescued one last year, and it ate from my hand no problem. We let him go, and he flew away.. happily. Just so this isn't all gloom and doom, I did rescue some kitties from my mum's garage, 3 of them. One died (as his kidney's didn't grow) but the others still maul me with effection every day. Casper and Spatz are their names, and they are about 7.5 years old now. (ones sitting here with me as I write this)

-- Trevor (, May 24, 2002.

I am currently saving a baby bird. I found this website while searching for an answer as to what to feed it. I liked the post about feeding the bird oatmeal and hard boiled egg yolk mixed with water. I will try that since I did get the bird {no name yet} to drink from an eye dropper that I found quite by accident. Coincidence? Or a gift from above? :-)

It is possibly a crow, but all I know for sure is that the mother is a medium size black bird. They live in my wall, under the roof, which they gain entrance through a hole under the eves in the side yard. My new little bird lives under that hole, in the center of a roll of paint tape, that is in a cardboard box. I hope he likes his little nest. Thanks for all your help. :-)

-- Peneilope Hobart (, April 25, 2003.

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