Ever notice that wherever horses thrive, so do birds. Well I have always loved and been fascinated by birds and every barn I have had, has had an abundance of happily chirping and reproducing bird life. It just seems that barns and swallows, wrens, crows, pigeons and starlings just go hand in hand.
We have all of these birds at my farm plus a healthy population of Kildeer, ducks, hawks and owls. The Kildeer are silly little birds that lay their grey speckled eggs in my arena and on my gravel driveway to the point were my place is often dotted with orange highway cones so no one accidentally runs over the nests. Yes I know I am a little nuts. On top of it, I often have to keep out a watchful eye for tiny baby Kildeer darting around my arena as I am trying to work a horse. I justify it all by saying that it is good distraction training for the horses.
This year has been particularly filled with a plethora of bird species. My farm sees a number of migrating ducks in the winter but this year we had an unusually high number and it seems that 3 have decided to become permanent residents. 2 mallards and a hen, we have named them Huey, Dewey (the hen) and Louie. The hen is now sitting on eggs (who knows who the dad is since she has 2 hubbies, none of my business) so I assume we will soon have little ducklings as well. They are smart ducks too, because they hang out with the horses and pick up the grain that drops out of their mouths. I think they are adorable and get a huge kick out of watching them waddle around my property and bathe themselves in my sprinklers.
|Uiver and the ducks|
|Thump & Thud on Day 3|
|Thump & Thud Today|
Well it will be a week tomorrow and Thump and Thud (what the kids named them) are doing just fine. They are eating a fortune in meal worms and driving my cats crazy with their incessant chirping. I am not sure how or even if, it possible to reintroduce them into the wild. Anybody have any experience with this???? Either way, I will either figure it out or I will build them a flight and have 2 resident Starlings as well. What else can I do??
Love the names! How kind of you to nurse them! I can't wait to see pictures of you teaching them to fly :))
Terri--You are just like me!. I tried to save a baby starling once--found it by the side of the road--had been hit, I think and had a broken leg. It made it for a few days and then died. You would not believe how many people told me I was crazy to save a starling cause they are nuisance birds.
I did successfully raise a pigeon that fell from a nest in the rafters of the covered arena in a barn where I was an assistant. The trainer wanted to kill it, but I snatched it away and took it home. I did reintroduce this bird to the wild. There were many wild pigeons where I lived and once the bird was mature. I let it sit outside in its cage and then with the door open (it sat on top of the cage) and eventually it departed with the pigeons. I'm not sure how it fared after that, but it didn't come back (that I knew of).
D'awww! Your little residents are so cute! It's sweet of you to take them in - I'd do the same thing no matter what the species!
Don't know about starlings, but my room mate rescued a magpie that was barely fledged and had, we thought, fallen about 30 feet out of a tree. In hindsight, we wondered if he'd been pushed. The plan was to raise him and let him go, but the other magpies weren't having any of it. They attacked his cage viciously, and when he did get loose - I forget whether by accident or design - they chased him far away from the farm. We did get him back, and he lived as a house bird with a huge cage built off the bathroom. Nature is not always kind, but he was a happy bird, as best we could tell.
I love birds, the only ones I'm not too fond of are crows, and there were two HUGE crows in the stables this morning, and they were so...fearless and rude and in my face! Nothing like your two adorable little birdies! I'd have done the same, not sure I'd have known exactly what to do though. Actually, I'd have done the same for baby crows, too!
I hope the cats don't get them; I remember when I was a little girl my father brought back a budgie or a canary in a cage that had belonged to someone in his office what got sent overseas. The father came into the kitchen, put the cage on the table, went down the hall to take off his jacket, heard a mighty crash, came running back to the kitchen...only to find Spooky, our cat, with a mouth full of bird. We were all so upset!
So cute! There are many birds that nibble around my horse's feed bucket, even when he is eating. He doesn't realize that he is sharing with them.
I've rescued baby killdeer before, well got them rounded back up after the horses scattered them. We have a lot more birds here than when we first came since we don't spray chemicals of any kind. We have redtail hawks nesting nearby.
We also have tons of birds at the ranch (Chino Hills, CA). The best was last summer when a pair of redtail hawks raised two babies on the property. They'd swoop across the arena, screaming, as they learned to fly and hunt. So cool.
Terri, I loved your photos and your bird tales!
Perhaps you can sneak the two starlings into the duck's nest . . .
I think starlings survive no matter what--except for the cats, of course. Keep us informed how they do.
Ewww! Putting birds in the freezer to "euthanize" them? Gross. I have never heard of such a thing.
My grandmother had a pet/rescued bluejay when she was a young mom. She has so many funny stories about how mischevious he was. (Like stealing coins from the neighbor's porch that were meant for the paperboy.) He went outside during the day and came inside at night, they hung a box up in a corner of the kitchen he would sleep in.
I hope your baby birds continue to do well!
Thank you all for your comments. I am glad that I have many fellow softies out there who have adopted babies too. Crows are not my favorite either. They are definitely the bad boys of the bird world but so intelligent.
I do have a sad update. One of the baby starlings (I think Thud) died last night. I have no reason why except that he did not eat as well last night. Thump seems depressed so at the moment he is sitting on my shoulder preening. I hope he keeps fighting and really wish I knew why the other one didn't make it.
Terri--That's what happened with the starling I tried to raise. It did fine for awhile and then died. I never knew why. All you can do is try.
I play with a pony who isn't afraid of anything except ducks! Twice, just as we crossed over a bridge, they came flying out, quacking loudly. It scared us both. To this day he spooks when he hears them and is likely to stop and look for them before we cross bridges. I plan on getting a duck caller and some apples and teach him theat the sound is associated with food!
I finally found your first post about Thump and Thud. You were awfully kind to even try to raise these two, and I never would have imagined you could turn a starling into a house pet! How special that you had the time you did together.
My friend had many birds in her barn here in MO and for some reason, they really upset her. I think it was their poop in the horse's feeders? Whatever the reason, she has absolutely waged war on them, to the point that she's now enclosed the entire loft area partly to make an apartment and partly because she wants the birds OUT. I think it's a lost cause, personally...
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