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Thread subject: Off topic, a bit, but I need to tell someone!
Name Date Message
Shelley 05/26/05 06:43 pm It was such a nice day here today, that after school, I went to buy myself an ice cream. Afterwards, I strolled the street, just soaking up the sun and enjoying the afternoon. As I approached one of my favourite shops, I saw one of the gals who works there standing on a ladder, on the sidewalk outside the store, peering into a tree. She was looking for a nest. In her hands, enveloped gently in a soft felt fabric bag, was a baby starling. It wasn't a newborn but it isn't a fledgling, either, because it doesn't have enough feathers. It had obviously fallen from its nest but there was no nest in that tree. We think the nest might be in the awning over the store but it wasn't visible. I tried to knock on the door of the tenants who lived upstairs but no one was home. They didn't to take it into the store so, by default, I said I'd take it home. We placed it in a small cardboard box, in the fabric *nest*. I have a very good website bookmarked (, from which I got good advice, which I see I have followed instinctively. I also already have a call into a local wildlife rehabber and am awaiting a call back.

Basically, it said that if the bird can be placed back into its original nest, that's best. A viable alternative is to fashion a makeshift one and put it close by. Neither possibility was possible. So what I've done is what it suggested to do and they said to feed it nothing until I can speak to a certified rehabber. This little guy is not injured and although there is obviously a certain amount of stress involved in the very nature of what has happened to it, he seems ok, so far.

So I wait for the phone to ring. And yes, I can keep it in a room and shut the door so the cats cannot get near it.

Cecilia 05/26/05 07:28 pm Shelley...good advice so far...but here is what you should do in the time being:

Put the bird in a box or basket to keep it warm. Once it is warm you need to rehydrate it. Here is the solution:
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
10 oz. warm water

Mix well. Carefully place a drop of the warm solution onto the top of the bill. As it runs down to the corner of the mouth it will trigger the bird's swallow reflex. Repeat at 15 to 30 minute intervals using 2 to 4 drops each time until you speak to the rehabber. (an eye dropper is helpful)

It is not true that birds will not accept hatchlings that have been handled by people...they have a bad sense of the best thing would be to try to get the chick back to it's nest tomorrow.
Celeste 05/26/05 07:32 pm My son was in Toronto for the day today, (business) and he called just to tell me the warm temperatures and sun Toronto was having! We are still freezing here.
Shelley 05/26/05 07:40 pm Thanks, Cec. Both the website and the voice message at the rehabber's said NOT to give it anything, even to rehydrate it but if I don't hear back soon, I may follow your recipe.I do have an eyedropper and I do have the little guy in a nice cardboard box, safe and sound. He is snoozing right now, eyes closed but breathing regularly and standing.

As for putting him back in the nest, we would have done that right away if we could have seen it. I suspect it was on top of the sign above the store but only the people upstairs would know for sure, and if they had been home when I knocked on their door, I'd have asked them to open their window and check!! If I don't get a call back from the rehabber tonight I will take it to school in the morning and go back to the store right at 9 am, as my kids have gym first thing and the store is only minutes down the street. Maybe I can catch the tenants before they go to work...

Melanie 05/26/05 08:07 pm Shelly, I can't speak for Canada, but starlings are not a protected bird here in the states as they are not native to the continent, even. Not to second guess, but it is possible that a rehabber may not share your sense of urgency to save it.
Shelley 05/26/05 08:11 pm Just got a call back from the rehabber!! She asked me a bunch of questions about its appearance, to try to determine its age, stage and condition. She confirmed that so far, I've done the right thing but that to try to return it to its nest is the best. She says it sounds like it's a beginning fledgling and may have actually tried to fly and jumped (or fallen) out of the nest. She also told me that since it has pooped in the box I have it in, that means that its parents have fed it recently. So, tomorrow, I am to bring it back and place it close to where the nest was, maybe even leaving a note on the box asking people to please not touch it and to try to stay away from it. Leaving the box open, perhaps the parents will find it. If it hops out, she says, it is meant to be out. Not the best of solutions but the best we can do, under the circumstances. She said if I could do a poop test, that would determine if the parents have returned to feed it. By that she means to check on it an hour or 2 after leaving it, and see if it has pooped again (for this, I'll have to get the store people to check). If so, good. If not, to call her (rehabber) back. She said, so far, tonight, not to give it liquid but to mix a tiny bit of soft cat food with water and with a tweezer, place a bit near its beak and see if it will take it. And to repeat it in half an hour if so. After that, nothing as it would not be fed at night, in the nest, anyhow.

I had another thought, too. I will ask our caretaker at school if he would drive me over in the morning, with the longest ladder he can find at school and see if we can reach the sign and see the nest.

I am very happy to report that neither of my 2 cats has shown the slightest interest in this box!
Shelley 05/26/05 08:15 pm Melanie, this rehabber was terrific!! I am impressed as it is the first time I have ever called one. I like that she not only was knowledgeable but sincerely interested. She took my name, address, phone number, gave me hers, and asked that I call her back tomorrow to give her an update.
Cecilia 05/26/05 09:08 pm Not for nothing but I disagree with the rehabber's
advice :-( The re-hydration solution is harmless and will help any bird maintain strength. I have rehabilitated dozens of birds..some I have fed for weeks and then released at a bird sanctuary and others I have held only overnight and released the next day. The situation you're in is one that falls in between a helpless, blind newborn and a fully fledged chick...but keeping it hydrated until you can return it to it's nest is key. The truth is probably that Starlings are considered garbage birds and no organization is going to really help keep it alive unless you do. Taking it back and leaving it in a box by the place you found it will probably insure that a cat or hawk or some predator will take it "away" for good.
Shelley 05/26/05 10:04 pm That, of course, is my fear but what else can I do? If I were to keep it here and try to nurse it, would it ever fledge and fly away and be safe? I can't keep feeding it cat food :-(

Did yours survive, Cec? I am so new to this and rather nervous....
Tim P 05/26/05 10:07 pm The best advice is to have left it alone.

The parents knew where it was and would have watched over it and still fed it on the ground.

Since you have it, I totally agree with Cecilia about hydrating the bird.

I considered getting a rehab .license just to be legal since I’ve been doing it for years.

People bring all kinds of creatures to my barn that don’t need to be rehabilitated. I have to refer them to others as I’m regulated by the state. The reason I don’t want the license is because I don’t' want a house full of English sparrows, European Starlings or baby squirrels that should have never been picked up in the first place,did I forget Canada Geese ?

Take the bird to the location you found it and walk away.

Marie 05/27/05 03:03 am Shelley...............starlings unfortunately are garbage birds as several of the posters have stated. It is very hard for you to read this but it is doubtful if a rehabber would help it survive. If you knew how many indiginous birds that are destroyed by starlings it would make you cry. Starlings are cavity nesters and seek out any crevice or hole to nest in. These same holes would equally serve a smaller bird well. Often these smaller birds are rare and listed as threatened. Starlings can have more than one brood a year...Like house sparrows they have insatiable appetites for breeding. One less starling can ensures survival of another species.........
Hard one TIM suggested........take it back and turn away and don't look back.......
Shelley 05/27/05 07:18 am Well, it survived the night. I am about to leave for work. I made the solution that Cec posted here and tried to do as she suggested. It is a fiesty little thing but refused to open its beak at all. It sure has pooped up a storm, though.

I know you are all right in what you suggest I do, but it is still a baby. I might not feel this way if it were a pigeon but, well, it isn't. I will bring it back and walk away, yes. But I feel so helpless....

karen 05/27/05 08:58 am Shelley there are several sites on the internet devoted to starlings ... even this species does have some friends ... you might try searching for more info that way.
Cecilia 05/27/05 09:28 am Yes Shelley...I have successfully "fostered" birds with the advice and permission of Volunteers for Wildlife. Like Tim I don't have a license but once people in the neighborhood found out that I have raised orphaned birds they started coming to me with every thing you can imagine. Sometimes I direct them to Volunteers office out in Lloyd Harbor, sometimes I take them out there myself and a number of times I have raised chicks (birds that are unprotected like sparrows) and then I have taken them to the Theodore Rosevelt Bird Sanctuary to release them (with their permission). But these birds were always newborns, their eyes hadn't even opened yet, so putting them back in the nest was the only option and usually the nests were 50 feet up in the air or couldn't be found. If someone brings me a bird that is feathered and looks to be a pre-fledgling I always tell them to take the bird back and try to put it in a hedgerow of some kind...where it will have some visual protection and lots of little branches to cling to. If it's close to nighttime I tell them to keep them warm in a box until morning and then take them back. That's when the rehydration solution is really give's them enough nutrition and fluid to get through the night.

Here on Long Island Volunteers For Wildlife has recruited Veterinarians who will accept rescued wildlife, treat if necessary and then turn them over to VFW. You might check around and see if there is any kind of similar arrangement near you...if you haven't already taken the bird back that is. If the bird is perching and pooping he may do fine up in a high branch and his parents will come and feed him because he will beg just like we see "our" osprey chicks...only he will stand and shake his wings while he screeches :-)

Celeste 05/27/05 11:38 am Shelley asked me to post the following which I copied and pasted from an e-mail from her school.

I took the starling chick back to where we found it. I
decided against the ladder plan (which is just as
well; we are having some electrical issues in school
today and the caretakers are all busy with the HydroElectric company and would not be able to be of any assistance to me anyhow). I placed the box, lid propped open with a couple of twigs so it would not fall and bonk the baby on the head, in the city planter box that the sapling tree is in, opposite the store front. The store doesn't open until 11 a.m. but the lady from the restaurant next door was setting up her outside tables so I told her what was going on and asked to to keep an eye on it for me and to let the store people know. She was kind enough to agree and wrote out the note suggested by the rehabber, asking
passersby not to touch or approach the bird. I
included the name and phone number of the Wildlife Centre and taped it to the inside of the open box lid.

The very second I had that lid open, the bird began
to cheep loudly and insistently. In the distance, I
heard what I am going to believe was a response. I
could not see another bird but both were quite vocal
so maybe momma will return, after all.

Cec, I know and even agree that doing this, returning it to such a busy area, is not a great solution. I just really couldn't come up with a better solution, at this time.

Tim, I wished the little guy luck and turned and
walked away. I did look back, though, just once.

I am not able to go back to check over my lunch hour
as I have a pre-arranged committment to meet someone
and can't reach that person this morning to change
plans. I will try to phone the store, though, at some

Thanks, all, for being here for me yesterday. I really
do appreciate your support, advice and everything.

Shelley 05/27/05 07:12 pm Thanks, Celeste, for posting that for me. I couldn't remember my password to post messages and wasn't at home, to look for it!

I phoned the store just before lunch time but the lady I spoke to was not one of the ones from last night and I am sorry to report that she wasn't too interested in even checking for me to see if it was still there. She did, eventually (I tried to sound as worried and pathetic as possible, so she'd feel sympathetic and do it. She did go check -- or she said she did, but it was not willingly! Grr...) She reported that the box was empty! Sigh...

I drove by after school but by then, the box was gone, altogether. This is one of my favourite little shops but I am really annoyed at their lack of concern over this. I know, I know, most people don't *get it*, most people see nuts like me, who care so much, as, well, nuts.

Sigh, again...

(by the way, I spotted a typo in my note to Celeste that she posted for me. It was I who wrote the note I attached to the box, not the restaurant gal, as it sounds)

Copyright © 2006 DPOF

Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006