© 2009-2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Handfeeding a Baby Mockingbird and
Making Baby Bird Formula
About a week ago, Mom and Blake showed up after a long neighborhood bike ride with a little half fledged mockingbird.
Both Blake and Mom know better than to immediately disturb, rescue, or otherwise interfere with any seemingly lost or abandoned animal. They had waited forty-five minutes observing the fledgling before deciding to intervene. So the long and the short of it is that I am now charged with the well being and care of this little fellow.
Make a Nest for the Baby Bird, and Keep it Warm!
I lined a small box with paper towels, added some tissue paper for fluff, and filled up a Crown Royal bag with rice for a heater. You can use a sock if that's convenient. Microwave the sock for a couple of minutes, and wrap it up in a dishtowel. Put that on one side of the box and the bird on the other. The warmth will seep from the rice, and keep the chick comfortable for a few hours at a time. Just use your judgment as to how much ventilation the box needs.
Making Baby Bird Formula:
Mocking birds are probably one of the easiest birds to hand feed and raise. They are quick to learn and figure out within a day or two, that you are there to actually feed them, and not just pry their beaks open and stuff food down their crops.
The handfeeding formula for mocking birds is easy. One hard-boiled egg, the same amount of dried cat food, and half of the egg shell ground up. A stone mortar and pestle is great, but two spoons are good enough. Crunch the shell up to about sand grain size or smaller.
Soak the cat food into mush and mix it thoroughly with the egg. It should be crumbly not too mushy. Now, for variety you can add a little apple sauce, grated carrots, finely chopped cooked chicken, cooked ground beef, mashed grasshopper, wax worms, mealworms and anything else you think of to each serving. I would skip any dairy products even though some folks use it.
Keep it refrigerated, and take out a little at a time. You need to warm it. You will kill the bird if you feed it cold! I use the microwave for about five seconds, and I stir it up with the tip of my finger very thoroughly. I make sure there are no hot spots that might burn the little fellow.
You may have to pry his little beak apart the first few times. Be gentle, be patient, and get help if you need it! After a few feedings, he'll get the idea and eagerly await your finger feeding. Invent a little three note whistle or sound that you use for feeding time. It lets him know you are going to feed him, and in the future he will respond to it, and if you are lucky, he will imitate it and respond to you, sometimes even calling to you!
Notice that my thumb and forefinger are sideways, and I place the food on his lower beak. When he closes his beak he gets the food.
We are fortunate that we have a screened in porch were he can stay.
Feed him every two hours or so. He'll let you know if you let it slip and he's hungry. Make sure he has a bowl of clean fresh water at all times.
A baking dish with some garden soil is a lot of fun for them, they scratch and poke around in it.
It takes a few weeks to bring him to maturity. I've always waited until their tails were good and long before I released them. At least this way I was certain that they could maneuver well, and avoid a small hawk or cat . They will usually stick around until late summer, usually coming down for a treat at the sound of your whistle.
Please email me with any questions you may have! I am in Afghanistan, and I can't get to Blogger too often!
Update: He has grown all up, and now spends most of is leisure time chasing bugs in the lawn areas. We are pretty sure it's him, because every time I whistle that three note tune, he stops and turns his head first one way then the other as if listening to the tune.
Albert A Rasch™
Member: Kandahar Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
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