Claim the privilege of hunting according to the dictates of your own conscience, and allow all hunters the same privilege;
let them practice how, where, or what they may.








Thursday, May 7, 2009

Feeding a Baby Mockingbird, Making Formula

Hand Feeding a Baby Bird, Making Formula for a Baby Bird!
© 2009-2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Handfeeding a Baby Mockingbird and
Making Baby Bird Formula
Where is my supper!!!

About a week ago, Mom and Blake showed up after a long neighborhood bike ride with a little half fledged mockingbird.

I'm lost and confused! Where's my Mommy?


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.

I'm not full yet!


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.

About time! Do you know what time it is?

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!

Hold still, will ya!

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.

Hurry up, will you!!!

We are fortunate that we have a screened in porch were he can stay.

Getting a little sun.

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.

Yeah right... We'll see about that... Don't you mean barring any "unforeseen" incidents?

Please email me with any questions you may have! I am in Afghanistan, and I can't get to Blogger too often!
theraschoutdoorchronicles(at)msn(dot)com

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.


Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Kandahar Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles


46 comments:

native said...

Were so sorry, Uncle Albert , Were so sorry if we caused you any pain.
Were so sorry, Uncle Albert, But the kettle's on the boil and were so easily called away.
(Paul McCartney circa: 1971?)

I feel for you, every single hour for at least a week!

Then trying to get him to stop flying onto your shoulder, even after you have put him outside!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Albert, that is just as sweet as can be.

Nice to know that formula too. Not that I'm in the mood for anything to get me up every two hours. But it's that time of year that the babies are falling out of the nest a wee early, and if I see one before it's succumbed to the ravages of flightless life, I'll want to help it out.

Albert A Rasch said...

Hey guys,

The feeding is only sunup to sundown, as that's when they normally eat anyway. I tend to stay up later so he gets a little more than he normally would; but that's ok, I enjoy the company.

Albert

Wild Ed said...

I have found that High Protein Baby Ceral with some smooth peanut butter makes a good emergency food for small birds and other babies that must be raised for a while.

Jason "all in one printer" Collins said...

Cute little fella!
Glad that the bird eat!

native said...

Albert,
You forgot to tell everybody that the Mocking Bird is Florida's State Bird!

Heck, I even forgot about that till it just now hit me!

Albert A Rasch said...

That's right Native!

I had forgotten too!

Thanks for reminding me,
Albert

Sydney CBD said...

lol at the cat... :p

Noa said...

Hi - I need advise regarding my foster baby mocking bird. I'm afraid there is something wrong with its legs: it is mainly sitting on its hocks - the legs do not seem to straighten up but to flex instead when it is moving them. I think it is ~10 days old and other than the leg position is doing GREAT. Thanks for any advise (I can send pictures if that may be useful)

Noa.

Albert A Rasch said...

Noa,

My email is theraschoutdoorchronicles(at)msn(dot)com
Let me know what you need to know, and I'll try to help you out. I'm in Afghanistan, but I do check my emails regularly.

Best regards,
Albert

Angelle said...

I was curious to what you had to say to Noa. I'm taking care of a baby bird which my dog discovered and I believe he's a mocking bird. Have had him going on 5 days and he's done really well. But, I think something is wrong with one of his claws. He doesn't use it to grasp anything, it just stays straight out. Also, have one or two other questions, hopefully if you have time you could help me with. Thanks!!

Angelle said...

I am taking care of a baby mockingbird that my dog found. Your website had been very helpful, but I just needed a little more advice. Thanks!

Albert A Rasch said...

Ok,

I've had several emails about feet and legs and such. It is really important that you use coarse paper towels, or wash cloths as "nest" so to speak. It has to be "rough" so that their feet and legs have some purchase so that they can keep them under their bodies.

Everyone, please Email me with your specific questions, and I will try to answer to the best of my ability. I am going to do an update on this post, as it seems there are a lot of folks with questions!

Best regards!
Albert

Albert A Rasch said...

Angelle,

Hmmm, I don't know why that might be... I would suggest that perhaps he needs a little exercise. perhaps a branch about 3/4 inch in diameter laid on the bottom of his box might be a start.

Email me with any questions you might have.

theraschoutdoorchronicles(at)msn(dot)com

Best regards,
Albert

JJ said...

The photos and formula are priceless. I've bookmarked this page. I'm sure I'll be bookmarking several pages.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

JJ

Anonymous said...

My 6 yr old found a tiny baby bird. I am almost positive its a mockingbird according to looking up baby bird pictures. It is about the size of a quarter. He found the bird yesterday afternoon and so far the baby is doing great. I don't have any kitten chow but I do have sugargliders which I feed a pelleted food I get from petsmart. Since they require a high protein high calcium diet, I have been crushing these pellets along with some live meal worms and soaking in warm water until mushy. I feed this by syringe to the baby bird. Should I also add the egg to this formula and should I continue using the glider pellets or get kitten food? The baby bird is pooping really good and quit often, opens its mouth to eat and chirps softly. Any help would be appreciated!

Albert A Rasch said...

Anon,

Thank you for getting in touch with me! Sounds like he is awful small, make sure he stays warm, and that the food is warm too.

That sugarglider chow sounds really good, would it be too much trouble to have you send me the name, brand, etc. I would like to know more about it.

By the sounds of it though, I think you could mix that all up and do fine with it! You'll be able to know when he wants you to switch to something more crumbly in texture. And good job on the mealworms.

My email is:
theraschoutdoorchronicles (at) msn (dot) com

I really appreciate you getting in touch with me! I'll be happy to help in any way I can.

(I really have to do an update on the post!)

Best regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
Handfeeding a Baby Mockingbird

Lisa Rich said...

Hello! The baby we found looks exactly the same as the picture you have above the caption "I'm lost and confused...where is my mommy?" I was wondering how much to feed her? We just found her a day ago and she just now started opening her beak for me to feed her. I mixed the formula you suggested (thank you for that, by the way), and I also cut up pink earthworms and feed those to her. She eats what seems like a lot but still opens her beak and cries for more. Is there a certain amount you suggest per feeding? Thank you so much!

Lisa
in Georgia

Albert A Rasch said...

Lisa from Ga,

Well done! You're obviously doing fine, feed the little critter whatever he wants to eat. When she's full, she won't squawk any more and will refuse any more. Go easy on the worms though. One or two smallish ones per meal are enough.

Send me a picture if you get a chance!

Thanks and best of luck to you!
Albert

lyoko4ever_pipa_96 said...

Hi!
my dog fought with this "mama mockingbird" and she got killed. the nest was there and the baby was inside. However, a couple days later, it wasn't there. I panicked, thinking my dog might have eaten it! but no, it fell off the nest. I picked it put and put it in the nest, but it was very figdety and almost fell of the nest again. I couldnt see the big-bird anymore (for days) and i though the bird might be hungry. i took the bird and nest down the beaten palm tree and gave it some bread and milk. it was really hungry. i dont know what else to feed it. and i dont think the mom will come back.. ill do the cat food and boiled egg thing, but i dont know where to find grasshoppers... any pointer on how to feed it?

Albert A Rasch said...

First off, don't feed it anymore bread and milk. There is too great a danger that the milk will make the baby bird sick. Most of the details on feeding a baby mocking bird are in the post, and check the comments too, as some people have offered great ideas on handfeeding also.

Remember to feed the fledgeling a crumbly moist mixture. You can get crickets at any fishing shop or at walmart in the fishing section.

It seems that he is eating fine already, so you have 90% of the battle won!

Best regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
The Best Turkey Hunting Tips!

lyoko4ever_pipa_96 said...

okay, thanks for the tip ! :D
but i've got another question:
should i make new food for the bird food everyday? or how long does the egg-mix last? because i made some yesterday, and there was a lot left, and this morning it smelled really bad! is it rotten or it's okay for the bird? D:

SmokeyDawn said...

Wow is there some kinda weird mass suicide attempt going on with Mockingbirds this year?
After wrestling him away from one of my cats (We have 5...) I placed him securely between the top of the fence and its post only to have him swan dive ending up head down stuck between two boards!
His parents have been quite loudly around and I tried putting him within their grasp but they wont come closer than 3 feet away...
ALL my cats however are intent on getting as close as possible! :S
After 2 days now I'm looking for a Wildlife Rescuer in my area!!
:D

Anonymous said...

Funny how there seems to be a fair few baby mocking birds in need! We found one by our shop just yesterday on the ground, sort of roaming a bit and chirping. Actually the dogs found him so we called them off and put him back up in the nest. We've done this several times now and keep finding him randomly somewhere on the ground. Mom and dad seem to be hanging around and we see them flying by with what seems to be food in their beaks so we haven't fed him yet.
Today I made a makeshift nest with cardboard, fabric and old palm leaves. I made it with taller walls in hopes he won't fall out of it. We put it up near the original and he's been there for about 5 hours now :) (yea little guy!)
About a half hour earlier I saw mom with what looked like food in her mouth fly from the roof towards the new nest... I'll keep checking on him. (I've named him Chirper).
Hope all is well for you in Afghanistan. I have a good friend over there now. Hope you get home safely and can save more baby birds :)
Thank you for being you!
Lori

Angelle said...

Whats your area?

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just Googled how to feed a baby mockingbird and found your wonderful page. A fledgling jumped out of the nest and I am in Arizona.. HOT.. don't know if he/she will last too long on the ground and parents are tending to others left in the nest. Made the formula but he/she is barely siphoning bits here and there thru the side of the beak. It is chirping plenty.. seems strong and is pooping so maybe it is taking in more tan I think.. but last mockingbird I had ate like a pig!
I volunteer at a wildlife rehab.. mainly birds.. so you'd think I know what to do but I'm not wanting to force feed by opening his beak like I see some do there. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Man! this is not what I thought I would be doing for the summer. The woods are burning in Georgia. The rains cause flash flooding in Florida and when the rain stoped I found this baby bird under a aircraft tire. I'll follow your plan, by keeping em warm and feeding em. Thanks for the info...

Anonymous said...

Maybe the mass suicide thing... My grandson found two baby mockingbirds and is nursing them. We had no idea what to do, thank you so much for the advice!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just found 2 baby mockingbirds outside and It was raining like crazy, there were 4 originally in the nest but the hawk got 2 of them. I am not too sure exactly how to take care of them, right now I have them in a shoebox with tissue paper and cotton balls to give them warmth, If you can offer any advice that would be great, I have fed them small pieces of mushy bread, but If u can tell me which cat food is good to use that would be great. They are very small maybe 8 or 9 days old.

Albert A Rasch said...

Wow, sorry i am so behind. I'm in Afghanistan, and I can't get on Blogger that often! Any dry catfood is good. I can't remember what we feed our cat, but they are all about the same. It's important to keep them warm though so remember the rice and sock.

Please email me so I can answer your questions in a timely fashion.

Best regards,
Albert

Anonymous said...

My husband works for a frieght company and found 3 mockingbirds in a the back of one the trucks. We are from Texas and its been over 100 degrees for several days straight and those trailors are even hotter. So he brought them home,Afraid the frieght would smash them or the heat would kill them, we purchased the formula from the pet store and have been feeding them every 2 hours for over 2 weeks. I have been taking them out side every morning so that they can run around and spread their wings. But one of the little fellas made it to a fig bush then to the pecan tree and kept climbing n climbing. That was a few days ago. Every morning I have been going out there to hear for him and i could still hear him, up until yesterday and today. I hope he makes it. I did set out a bird house and some food out for him,just in case. My question is my kids are coming to the realization that once the remaining 2 learn to eat for them selves and fly I am going to let them go. And they are heart broken. When do I know for sure the birds are ready to be set free? I have purchased mealworms, and all sorts of treats. And those lil guys will not eat for them selves. They are no longer eating as often. They are flying some. They seem very strong now. But I don't want to send them out prematurely. My kids are begging to keeps them as pets, but I can't do that to them. Help! : )

Anonymous said...

I,well this mocking bird found me.I left it outside for a least an hour and no parents came around and we have quite a few cat wondering around,so I knew it wouldn't make it long.well I had it for 2 days and is eating really well,a lot I should say.I'm worried about it's right wing,when it strecthes ,the left wing open wider and longer,it doesn't seem in any kind of pain cause it flapes a lot,it can't fly cause tail feathers are not grown in yet,want be long though.the question is,should I be worried about that wing?

Anonymous said...

I came across your site after rescuing my third mockingbird. The first two were about a month ago and younger, and I got them into a small tree the next a.m. and mommy came and led them away with feedings. Now I have an older one with a slight wound.I have him safe from predators and have him a little cat food for good measure. Thank you for your site and good info.

barbk said...

I have found a baby mocking bird, which looks just like the picture where you say I am lost and confused. The baby is in my pool area. I have watch all day, and I think his sibling maybe in one of my bushes in the pool area. I believe both parents are feeding both birds. One of the birds is on the concrete deck - near the pool pump. He is in the shade, and I do see the parents feeding him. I am worried he is going to end up in the pool, but he seems to be staying near the edges of house. Should I intervene, or leave it alone, as its mother is feeding it? My backyard is surrounded by a fence, I do not know how they got in there. I am pretty sure these are the babies that I have been watching the past few weeks. The nest is in the front yard - in front of my sons bedroom window. How long before these babies can fly?
Thanks for the help.

Anonymous said...

Hi Albert,
I just got a baby mockingbird handed to me from my mom. I've raised a white winged dove from about 2 days old and now this guy. He is about 5-8 days old. I'm just happy to know there is someone that has had a similar experience. The only thing is i haven't even let my dove go, not sure if i have the heart to let go of it. There are a lot of hawks where i live.

Janelle

Anonymous said...

hello, thank you for telling how to feed a baby mockingbird and what to feed it. last night at work some kids found a little guy. looks about like the one in your pix. he's eating good, in a box in the bathroom where it's nice and warm. the lights in there stay on and are keeping it warm for him.
I didn't know what kind a of bird he was, and no rescue will take him. but when he began to make sounds to my sounds, I questioned what he was. and sure enough I found his pic. thanks again.
oh, can I ask, can they live in a cage?

Anonymous said...

Great! Can I tell you something freakish? Ok, here goes. Yesterday my friend came over with a half-fledged mocker like yours. The very day BEFORE that, I had read this article, so I knew what to do now. The boy said he didn't know what made him come to me. I'm not very religious, but that was some careful planning done by God! Anyway, in case you were wondering, I did what this site said to do, then I let my friend take him home (the mocker's name is Pete), and now Pete is in my big ol' roomy birdcage, recovering. He was immediately better after eating. He even hopped out of my hand, glided, and ran (hopped) around! Thank you SO much!

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, I found a nest with 3 baby mockingbirds and 1 egg. What are the chances for this egg to hatch? the babies are featherless, they have a little fuzz and 1 of them just opened its eyes. How old could they be??

Eddie Foy said...

We have been caring for a baby mockingbird, feeding him a formula from a local pet store and recently small worms. He(she?) appears quite healthy and is growing quickly. Recently we have been taking him outside and he likes to sit in a magnolia tree in the back yard. We would like to release him into the wild, but are quite concerned for his safety. A recent day while he was sitting on his favorite branch, an adult mockingbird appeared to attack him. I did some research and came to realize that mockingbirds are quite territorial. (This adult bird may have even been one of his parents for all we know). We are not sure of what to do, when to release, etc... can anyone out there offer advice?

Snookeehook said...

Hello my name is Bruce, a fella drove up to my at my house and handed me a box with a little mocking bird in it. Well he started chirping and jumping around somewhat. I figured that I will raise him up. I went to the bait store and purchased some worms for him, I cut three of them up into 4s and fed him, he was a little stuberon at first then he started gulping them down. He was hungary and ate 4 worms total. He is now sleeping, I guess I will try to feed him again this evening. I would take him to a rescue place but the place is all closed down. He did poop before he nodded out tho I figure that's a good thing haha his name is Lester by the way. I guess worms are a some what good and natural thing for him to be eating, write me and let me know what you think. Thanks. Bruce

Anonymous said...

I woke up this morning and found 2 baby mocking birds under the tree in my backyard. We are now digging up the backyard looking for worms and various other creatures. Now you say to use cat food, why? I also have cats and don't mind sharing their food, I just want to know the benefits they get from the cat food.

Anonymous said...

hi! I'm so glad I found this! we found a baby almost completely dehydrated. We watched and waited and no mama. our little guy looks the same as the pictured baby with the caption "I'm lost and confused! Where's my Mommy?" How old is the baby in that pic? I'm wondering how long before this little guy will be on his own as this is the first baby I've ever cared for. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this information, I am bird sitting for our neighbors who are on vacation. Baby mockingbird, just like your pic, he has only been fed cat food softened with water, small bits of blackberries and blueberries. I will add the egg now, also some of the shell. They also have chickens, so, in the bottom of his 'cage' there is a small dish of chicken scratch (he just pecks at it) and of course, water. Can't wait to put the potting soil in the bottom and see what he does! Thanks to everyone who is willing to save these babies!

birdmothermarcy said...

This is the best site ever on Baby Mockingbirds. Found it yesterday to help an out-of-state friend learn how to care for babies who fell from her tree. Love the pix! Brings back fond memories of the little mocker I raised a few years ago. Sadly, he developed Avian Pox which I learned was rampant and affecting many species in our area. I suspect that the parent threw him out of the nest as he had a strange blood bubble onone of his nostrils. There is a medication that can be dabbed on the poxs that dry them out...available at Jedds.com and Allbirdproducts. com. I found out too late.

Also, even the saliva of a cat can kill a small bird within 24hrs, a larger one within 48. I've done Avian rescue and rehab for many years so I always keep Baytril on hand as antibiotics must be started immediately but you have to know how much by the weight of the bird. .
Even if there is no obvious wound or blood on the bird the cats teeth may have punctured him under the feathers. The other med to have is Gentamicin for eye infections (same as for humans).

Now for the bad news which you may disagree with. Unless a bird is parent raised it will not learn the survival skills necessary to survive in the wild. I met a girl who lovingly raised a baby mocker then released it in her front yard. When she came home from work, she found the little fellow still there .....but scattered in pieces....as he'd never learned what a cat was. Parent birds teach their young by action and in "bird talk"...different sounds, chirps, screams have different meanings. The little mocker I had would have still been with me if not for the pox. One of my English Sparrows just passed...she was about 13 yrs. old which is about the world record for sparrows raised in captivity.

Albert, are you on Facebook?

Will Jackson said...

A tip I found out yesterday, vibration seems to make its little mouth spring wide open. I kept it indoors in a non-air conditioned room, (80+ degrees) and have had to change the paper towels quite often. Feeding it water-soaked chick feed and small earthworms. Much more lively today than yesterday. Chirping loudly to my voice and eagerly waiting feedings. Thank you for this page, I'm looking forward to releasing it in a few weeks.

Amy Lynn said...

Hi I am feeding and caring for a baby mockingbird and I am patiently waiting for his tail to grow long, like you mentioned so he won't be easy prey. He loves your food recipe but I think I'm making it to mushy. He has dried mush on his front feathers on his chest, I'm hoping they will fall out and he will grow adult feathers, I might have to moisten a paper towel with warm water and see if I can soak it off a little. Thanks for your article I am sure you have saved a lot of baby mockingbirds because of your advice!
Los Angeles, Aimee