Bub. Another C3D story......
((Thought you were safe from these didn't you?))
It has been unseasonably cold and raining for the past 2 weeks. I have been feeding the birds up close to the house where the seeds stay dry. Four days ago I let the dogs outside to do what ever it is that dogs need to do outside.
Bosco, the German Shepherd, came back in quickly but our new addition, Daisy, a Keeshound / Elkhound mix puppy was out for a long time. She ignored my calling her back home. I went outside to see what she was up to. She had something in her mouth by the pond.
She ran toward me and dropped a bird at my feet. The poor thing! A young grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) was soaking wet, eyes closed and covered in mud. I picked him up and brought him inside. We towel dried and used a hair drier to warm him quickly. There was A LOT of mud to scoop from his beak.
There were no apparent injuries and he was tube fed some warm baby bird cereal mixed with some baby food (the human kind). Within 10 minutes the young grackle, named Bub, had opened his eyes. He was tucked in warm towels and placed in a carrier with a heating pad beneath.
Bub was fed every 30 minutes for our first 12 hours together. We have lengthened the times between feeding as bit and there is no over night feeding now. He has a riboflavin deficiency (one of the B vitamins) and it is evident by the appearance of curled toes and paralysis or weakness of the legs. He cannot stand but is otherwise alert and quite the charmer.
We started him on riboflavin supplementation. It is mixed with his baby cereal. As things go, he ~should~ stand within a few days and his toes ~should~ regain their strength soon after that. I have had two other grackles to hand raise and both of them too had the same deficiency. My very first robin chick and a blue jay chick also had this same problem. I think the weakness of this young bird may have resulted in his falling into the pond. Good thing our dog rescued him!
I brought him inside and as I was drying him off I told him that he needs to get strong and well so he can go outside again and raid the nests of other birds and eat their chickies to feed his own chicks. Such is nature, ehh?
Little Bub is doing better today. He is able to flex the toes on his left foot this morning but as yet unable to stand. He is bright and alert and exploring new food. He exercises his wings several times a day too.
Hmmmm. Grackles are not my favourite bird. Every year they raid the nests of the house wrens, the finches and sparrows and make off with the chicks. But that is nature and that is one of the things that grackles do to make a living. It's not his fault he's a grackle. He is someone who I am able to help and that seems to be my reason for existence on this planet. I'm sure in the big scheme of things, saving one grackle chick does not make any difference but it makes a very big difference to Bub and I.
Oh yes....Photographs. I'm hoping to take photographs daily and be able to show his progress. It's with my trusty 35mm camera. Will need for the roll to get finished and get it developed somewhere first.
I will keep you updated on how this little one is coming along. He has just started exploring seeds and other foods today.
Do I need a baby grackle? The definitive answer is: NO!
Did the baby grackle need me? Looks like!
I'm glad we met! :-)
C with 3Ds AND a grackle