Sunday, September 30, 2012

Northwest Bird Rescue Sites

I've written about rescuing an injured hummingbird and feeding it for several weeks until it recovered. Rehabilitating a wild bird is very rewarding. There's always a need for more volunteers willing and able to do this. A few more bird rehab centers would be advantageous too.

Hummingbird at right had an injured wing after being rescued
from a cat. She made a full recovery after a few weeks in a
cage, surviving on fresh fuchsia flowers daily and sugar water
(boil  together four parts water to one part sugar and let cool).
We still recognize her when she comes to our feeders.

Cyrano, old man of the sea. A resident
pelican at Free Flight in Bandon, OR.
This is from their photo gallery.

Free Flight is a bird and marine mammal rehabilitation center located in Bandon, Oregon on the south coast. A link to their website is given below.

I recently learned of another rescue facility in Oregon. It is Cascade Raptor Center in Eugene, Oregon. Here is their website:

I haven't gone there yet, but hope to. If you use your internet search engine, you may find some in your area too. They are wonderful places to visit and support.

This Red-tailed Hawk photo is taken from the
Cascade Raptor Center website.

Peace and Blessings!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Nests for Hand Fed Birds

Hand feeding young Bourke parakeets. Each time they are fed I change their diapers, moving them from a dirty box to a clean one. In the photo below, they are leaving the green box and will go into the pink one that has a new paper towel on the floor. I use a lot of paper towels, as you can see. I also use tissues dipped in warm water to wipe their faces clean after a feeding.

Their tissue box sits inside a cage. They are almost fully feathered and can fly. A cage is necessary, but they are still young and like to cuddle inside a box. It also allows them to stay warmer.

Each tissue box has a layer of pine shavings under a folded paper towel. They're absorbent. Before each feeding, when the paper towel is soiled, it's removed. I tilt the box so that the pine shavings lay in the back and off the bottom of the box. If the box floor became damp it will dry out before the next feeding. Tilting the box to move the pine shavings allows them to dry also. When it's time to feed again, I prepare the box before the hand feeding formula so that it is ready for the birds after they are fed. 
Tissue box with clean pine shavings, ready for a paper towel
to lay over them creating an absorbent floor for the box.

The Gouldian finches have been moved from their incubator and into a cage. They haven't flown yet, but are stretching and flapping their wings. In the photo below they are in the bottom cage with the two Bourke parakeets above them.

I keep my hand fed babies in the kitchen. It's the most convenient place, near the microwave for heating water. Also, a sink for cleaning bowl and eyedropper after every feeding. By allowing the cages to sit on a corner of the kitchen table, they're near us when we eat. That encourages them to try to eat on their own. It also helps to familiarize them with our activities and keep them calm.
A closer view of the Gouldian babies' cage and box.
Easy-to-eat food is present: spray millet, nestling food,
finch seed and a low bowl of water. Low perches too.

Rosy Bourke baby cage above. They also have easy-to-eat
foods present, as well as two sources of water. They're
beginning to nibble on the spray millet, but still require
supplemental feedings on a regular basis, now every 3-4 hours.
Hand feeding a parrot or macaw is probably lucrative, but for these little guys it really isn't. It's very time consuming and more costly than those fed by their parents, both in items used and time spent. Whatever the hand fed babies sell for, it doesn't make up for the cost and time involved. Parent fed parakeets are a more practical endeavor. I do it for love, and so I can have some very tame birds of my own.

Peace and Blessings!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Baby Lady Gouldian Finches

Lady Gouldian finches at 16 days of age.
These two Lady Gouldian finch babies hatched from eggs on Friday, September 7. They were hatched in a home made incubator. Mother finch decided she'd raised enough for the year and wouldn't sit on the eggs, but kept laying. Three were fertile, and two hatched.

Almost time to move them from the incubator and into a cage. They will be able to fly soon. At present, I prop the door up, but leave the light on. It stays warm in there, but not as hot as it was before they feathered.

Perhaps I'll turn the light off for a few days with the incubator lid down. Then move them to a cage at the end of this week.

In their incubator at 16 days old.

This photo was taken today, September 25. They're 18 days old.

As sweet as these little birds are, and as happy as I am that through a miracle they hatched and are still alive...I'm tired of feeding baby birds! I'll be grateful to have them fledged. Smile.

Peace and Blessings

Bourke Parakeet Baby Updates

Sweetheart is a pink-eyed, opaline fallow Rosy Bourke parakeet hand fed last year. The pale pink and white bird behind him is being hand fed this year. I hope it will be a hen that I can put with him. The feathers under her chin are wet from just being fed. The 2011 hen Sweetheart chose died in an accident and he rejected another one offered to him. The bird above is from the same parents as his first hen, so I hope he will accept her...if it's a her.
Below is another photo of the two of them. I tried introducing them today, but the young bird is still returned to the tissue box inside another cage where she currently lives with two other young Bourkes. When she's eating on her own, I'll let her move to his cage and hope they bond.
My hand fed Rosie with her clutch of four. Photo was taken today. She's a good mother who has raised many birds over the last three years. I banded her two smallest this morning, so all four have a silver identification band showing us as breeders, and a colored band to identify they came from Rosie and Pretty Boy.
 Below are Rosie's four babies as they were about 12 days ago. Small and clustered together.

Flame and Fuchsia are on five eggs, recently laid. It's her third clutch this year. Had not intended to let anyone have a third clutch this summer, but broke down and allowed Fuchsia to. I'm hand feeding hers from the previous clutch to ensure they'll be very tame.
So far, this year none of our birds have produced pink-eyed baby birds. Last year there were some in every clutch. Is it a difference in the weather, I wonder? was a cold summer last year and has been a cold summer this year too. Diet is the same. Wonder what it was, especially since a young man nearby, who has a pair of Bourkes from us, called last year to say his birds' first clutch consisted of four babies, every one with pink eyes! He wondered if that was normal and their eyes would darken over time. Nope. Not usual, and they will stay pink.  
Peace & Blessings.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday update on Bourkes and Gouldians

Rosie and Pretty Boy's fourth egg hatched this morning. I got a quick look when she left the box, but she's very protective, and I didn't get a picture before she returned to the nest box. Here she is covering her clutch. Her nest box has a sliding door at one end. It's easier to look into than Fuchsia's with a hatch top. This is Rosie's second clutch.

I mentioned Fuchsia. In a previous post I said that I'd decided to limit all the birds to two clutches and had removed the other nest boxes. Well... Fuchsia is a determined mother. She still has one baby that hasn't fledged, and I'm hand feeding, so she should not be inclined toward another clutch so soon. Yet, she decided she wants to raise another clutch. Even without a nest box she and Flame have been mating and she laid two eggs on the floor of her cage. I took the first and put it under Rosie because she's brooding, although her babies are more than 18 days older than that egg.

I removed a second egg today and noticed she is carrying a third. Her cloaca (vent) is enlarged with a round distention over it. So, I gave in. My husband kindly reattached one of the nest boxes I'd cleaned and stored for the year. This meant removing the duct tape we used to cover the opening in the cage. As soon as he held the box up there, even before he had time to securely attach it, she was in it! She's tame, smile. We had to remove her, so she flew from his shoulder to mine, back and forth, telling each of us that she was eager to go back to the nest box.

I placed the second egg she laid into the box. It's in a corner that I hope she will choose since it's the easiest for me to see when the lid is opened. Once she lays the third egg, I'll retrieve the first one from Rosie's box and put it back for Fuchsia. I don't know that these are fertile, but there's nothing to lose letting her have them.

So much for downsizing! I only have three Bourke pairs left, but they are prolific. Fortunately, elderly Cherry is willing to slow down and not demanding her box back.

Remember the little Bourke with a splay leg? Well, after four methods to secure her leg, we gave up after a couple of weeks and it is still splayed. However, she flies and lands well and and is coping adequately. She has a new home with a young woman who wanted her. She is the only bird in the household and will be spoiled and well cared for.

Here is today's photo of the Lady Gouldian finches that I'm hand feeding (out of necessity, not by choice). Notice the wing feathers! They're eleven days old today.

Peace & Blessings.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hand Feeding Baby Birds Update

These two are easy to feed because they are
 young. They're from different clutches.
Feeding our two smallest Rosy Bourkes this morning. Light pink is from Flame and Fuchsia. The darker rosy baby is from the other's great grandparents, Rhett and Cherry.

If you have viewed other photos of past clutches being hand fed, you will notice how eager they are to eat. This time, however, I waited too long to hand feed. The ideal time is at three weeks, but events led me to wait too long.

I removed the five babies from their two nest boxes and three of the five were already fully feathered. Then we removed the nest boxes from their parents' cages. I've decided to limit the birds to two clutches each this year.

Too old to begin hand feeding. He isn't eager to be fed.

Waited too long to begin hand feeding. This is the 2nd
oldest Bourke of five. Notice his reticence. I ended up
giving him back to his parents to continue feeding.

I placed all five babies in a covered box with pine shavings under a paper towel that gets changed at each feeding. All three feathered babies resisted being hand fed, but two did give in with persistence. A light pink from Flame and Fuchsia absolutely refused to eat and after over 24 hours, I put it back in with its parents. They fed it and I removed it once more. It still refused to eat the Exact Hand Feeding formula, but did pick at a spray of millet I offered it. Eventually I gave in and left it with Flame and Fuchsia to supplement feed while it learned to eat on its own. It is the oldest of the five.

Since feathered birds can fly, I moved the babies into this
tissue box that they can get in and out of. It's inside a cage.
The two shown here are the two youngest still being hand fed.

Meanwhile, the other two fully feathered babies have been so much trouble trying to feed that I decided after two and half days to give them back to Rhett and Cherry too. The mated pair didn't hesitate to accept their offspring back, even though no longer in a nest box, which is gone now. That leaves the two youngest birds who readily took to hand feeding. 

Below are the youngest two from both clutches. They are eager to be hand fed. Optimum age is about three weeks. If you wait too long, you lose the window of opportunity and it becomes more difficult. These two are eager to eat and even steal a little from one another.

Below are my two Lady Gouldian finches. Hatched in an incubator, they are growing rapidly. This photo is of them at nine days of age right after being fed.

Nine-day-old Lady Gouldian finches being hand fed
after hatching in a homemade incubator. Successful so far.

Peace & Blessings!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lady Gouldian Finches, Banding Babies 6 Days Old

Bands on their tiny feet. Longest toe doesn't show up.
It is under them and what holds the bands on their leg.
Put bands on the two baby Gouldian finches this morning. Their feet are different than the Bourkes, but we managed. The inside toe is the longest, so band went over it first instead of last, as with a parakeet.

Feeding before banding.

These two are growing and cheeping. I'm still using the eye dropper to feed them since I've not been able to find other recommended devices...mostly because we live in a small community, and out of town at that. But, the little birds seem to have adapted to an eyedropper well and so have I. We don't spill as much as we used to. However, I still wipe their faces with a warm, wet tissue after each feeding. Exact Hand Feeding formula dries hard, so best not to let it stay on a bird if you can help it.

The larger of the two often flips over on his back, as he is
here on the left. The little "poopers" flip and squirm a lot.

Very full, but still begging. Typical behavior.

Have lowered the temperature in the brooder (i.e., also incubator) by moving a pencil farther under the lid to raise it slightly higher. Wondering when the little guys will open their eyes. Soon, I'd guess. Didn't pay attention when their parents raised the two broods ahead of them. Not sure why their mother continued to lay eggs and refused to sit on them this time, but raising finches from eggs has turned into quite an adventure. Smile.

After those homely pictures, here is something prettier. This was taken out the north window of our living room about 7:00 a.m. this morning. Fog in the valley below us. Much like the Smokey Mountains on the east coast, but on the opposite side of the country.

Had an insight as I fed these baby birds. Often they resemble squirmy little worms, and at better times, little frogs. As homely as they are, I continue to feed them believing someday they will be beautiful feathered creatures.
Perhaps that is how God views us. The distance between God and us is greater than between us and these baby birds, yet he cared enough to create us. Getting up in the middle of the night to turn birds' eggs, and later feed these little creatures isn't pleasant, but their worth lies in the future. Is that what God sees for us too? That someday we will also become beautiful creatures, worth His creation and sacrifice? Thank you, Lord, for my life and for the mystery of all infant lives, each gifted with miraculous potential. - Gail Husband Lewis

Peace & Blessings.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lady Gouldian Finch Babies, Two Hatched!

About eight hours after the first Lady Gouldian finch egg hatched in our homemade incubator, the second one did too. Exciting! 

Second baby exiting his shell.

With Bourkes I typically leave the baby birds with their parents until they are about three weeks old. This time, however, these eggs were abandoned by the Lady Gouldian pair. They'd raised two clutches of eleven babies. However, with the third they lost interest. All they wanted to do was nest build, cover up their eggs laying new clutches on top of old, breed, and sleep outside the nest, never brooding.

I decided to replace the pine shavings with shredded paper.
I also have several soft pieces of flannel to cradle them in.
The eggs on the left aren't likely to hatch, they are clear.
The one egg that is fertile and laid later, is with the babies.
After tossing out over a dozen cold Lady Gouldian eggs, I retrieved the last five she laid and removed the nest box. She laid four more on the floor of the cage before she quit laying. With advice from Gouldian breeder, Su Yin, I removed all egg food and millet from the cage too. She said that good food stimulates Gouldian breeding. So, the pair now have only finch seed; although I left the cuttlebone and mineral block in place.
Of the first five eggs, which were transferred to the incubator, two hatched today. A third is fertile and should hatch early next week. It was laid on the floor of the cage and went into the incubator later than the others.
Feeding these little ones is labor intensive. I've been advised to feed them every hour for the first two days, and four times during the night. I'm tired of making new formula and feeding them every hour! But, I'm grateful the eggs hatched and hopeful that they will survive and grow to become sweet, tame pets. As they mature the feedings will be less frequent.
Meanwhile, my Bourkes will be three weeks old this weekend, so I expect to remove them and start handfeeding the five. I'll post about them soon.
Larger birds are much easier to hand feed. These itty, bitty, little baby finches are a challenge! Funny, because I considered hand feeding some from the parent's clutches and decided not to because they were so small. At three weeks they were not as small as these are, tiny hatchlings. Smile.

I feel very fortunate and very blessed.

Peace and Blessings.

Artificial Incubation A Success - Handfeeding Lady Gouldian Finch Baby

First feeding for baby Lady Gouldian finch.
This bird was hatched in a homemade incubator from day one.

Here is our first Gouldian finch hatchling. Now the fun begins. Feeding such a tiny little sprite is a lot more troublesome than feeding a baby Bourke parakeet. This little fellow's beak is so tiny. The eyedropper is too big for it.  A Lady Gouldian site suggests beginning with a toothpick. Hmmm...the liquid Exact is so thin. 

This photo was taken at the very first feeding. I woke at 4am and my conscience told me to go check the incubator. Did I? No. Rolled around and ignored the nudge. Lazy me. I didn't get up until 7am and there he was! There is another egg that should hatch today, God willing.

Got some food in him in spite of the inexperienced person
feeding him with an inadequate eyedropper.

Things are still touch and go, but my husband feels proud that the incubator he designed and built was successful. Now, the feeding is up to me. Pray for me, that my ability will be helped with divine intervention. If he survives, it won't be because of me. This little bird is a miracle. Come to think of it, so is every baby of every kind. Miraculous.

Peace and Blessings.

LATER UPDATE: Although both of these babies survived to adulthood, with later baby Lady Gouldians we used a dental pic with the tip cut off and smoothed out. It is too easy to "drown" a tiny baby finch like this with the dropper. The dental pic, or a very tiny paint brush with only two or three strands, works better for birds this small.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Artificial Incubation of Eggs in a Homemade Incubator

I've hesitated to post about this, waiting to see how successful it would be. But, I've decided to go ahead. We have two eggs that are due to hatch in 3-4 days and another that is fertile and should hatch (hopefully) much later.

Thirteen days ago I retrieved five Lady Gouldian eggs that were being ignored by the parents. This after I'd already thrown away 17 she had laid earlier and didn't keep warm. I removed the box and she laid more on the floor of the cage. Two were damaged, but two were not, so they were also retrieved.

Seven Lady Gouldian eggs we are attempting to incubate when parents
didn't. Actually, we only expect three of them to possibly hatch, but
see no reason to give up on the others right away.
My husband brought up the homemade incubator he'd put together several years ago. At that time, we had tried incubating two Bourke eggs from a hen who had been egg bound. With treatment she survived and went on the following year to lay more eggs. However, none of her eggs ever hatched, including the two we tried to incubate. Yet, they did mature right up to the day they should have hatched, just like her own eggs did the following two years. Some genetic abnormality, perhaps?

Back to the Lady Gouldian eggs. Two babies are moving in their shells and I've quit turning them as instructed at several websites. One of the best I found on incubation and egg repair appears to be this one:

This time we created a humidifier thermometer to check humidity. That thermometer is in the blue box with a shoelace extended into the bowl of water below. This process was explained on a website we found.
The temp. in the box has been about 99 degrees (supposed to be 99.5F) most of the time. However, when the top of the box is opened to turn the eggs, the temp. drops momentarily. I'm hopeful that's no different than if the mother hen were to leave the box. A 25-watt bulb heats the former cockateil nest box. A dish of water is under the screen that holds the box of eggs and yesterday I added a second bowl of water to increase humidity as advised for the last two or three days of gestation. The item in the bowl shown in the photo is not a bar of soap, it is an absorbent cloth.

Wish us luck, say a prayer, and check back Saturday or Sunday to find out if, God willing, the Lady Gouldian eggs hatch. I certainly hope so, even though it will mean getting up in the middle of the night to feed them for the first week or so. I've already been getting up once to turn the eggs, and rotate every couple of hours during daylight hours. With an angel's help, that has kept two of the five alive so far, and one of the younger eggs has a smaller embryo that is alive too.

How fun it would be to raise them to maturity. But, even if they don't disappointing as that might's been an interesting endeavor. Seeing them move in their shells is exciting. And, as my husband says, "We've nothing to lose." (Except some sleep, smile).

Peace and Blessings.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Feeding Flame for his Five

This was saved as a draft and never posted. These photos are from last summer, 2011, so I thought I'd go ahead and put them up. Peace & Blessings.

Fuchsia with her Five Babies from Flame.

Flame sharing Pip's formula.

Pink-eyed baby gets a supplemental feeding.

Tissue catches the excess food.