Posted by: Dan | July 25, 2006

Phoebe chick rescue

So yesterday we had a little bird drama at home…

Last year and this one, we’ve had a pair of Eastern Phoebe‘s nesting under the carport at home. This year so far, they’d already fledged one brood, and a week or two ago we had noticed that the couple were working on a second.

Well, yesterday I got a call from my better half, telling me that one of the chicks had fallen from the nest, and was pretty darn helpless there on the ground. What should she do, she asked? The best answer we could come up with was to try to climb up and put it back in the nest. And since the nest is very high up in the rafters, the ladder is heavy, and I had some spare time, I drove home to help.
phoebe chick

As you can see, it was cute and helpless. We got the ladder out, I put gloves on, and then I carried it up to the nest… it was quite easy, since the chick just shut its eyes and froze (probably in fear). I was also surprised that it wasn’t injured from the fall, as far as I could tell – but then again I didn’t do a thorough examination of the poor thing.

Getting it into the nest wasn’t easy though, given the narrow space between the roof of the carport and the nest, the other chicks (I counted two others that I could see) taking up space in the nest, and my clumsy hold on the chick. In the end, I just placed it on the rim of the nest and tried nudging it in… only succeeding on getting it stably on the rim of the nest, with its butt hanging over the edge. (maybe you can sort of see it in the picture)
phoebe nest
After I was satisfied that it was safely in the nest, we took the ladder down, and went inside to watch if the parents would return. Sure enough, they soon started hanging about again, and the chicks started chirping and begging for food – the returned chick was by far the loudest.

One of the parents actually came up to the nest to tend to the chicks while we watched, but without much food to give them, from what we saw. I think they’ll make it though.


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