Saturday, May 10, 2008

Smile for the Birdie(s)

There have been some new arrivals in my wild baby nursery: a nest of 5 House Finches and a lone baby Mockingbird. Of course I named the latter Tequila. It's not a very original name; I found it on the Internet. But it's fun to say Tequila Mockingbird!

They all get hungry about every half hour and start chirping for food. They get Exact, which is a special baby bird food formulated for caged birds, plus egg yolk ("Isn't that a little macabre?" asked my son, "Feeding eggs to birds, I mean!"), applesauce, strawberries, and soaked puppy chow kibbles cut into very small pieces. Plus bird vitamins.

Squirrels Isolde and Isabel, together with two other unnamed ones, are all in the outdoor cage now, in preparation for release. That will be in another week or 10 days.

Tiki the Mouse, who earlier this week was taking a whole cc of her formula, is now down to two-tenths of a cc three times a day. Reason? I put hamster mix in her cage now, together with water, and she eats so much of that she has little room left for formula. She still scampers right into my hand, though, whenever I lower it into her aquarium. And she looks adorable there, holding her "bottle" (a syringe) and sucking it, and then sitting up in the middle of my palm to clean her chin and whiskers.

As I was feeding her last night, a cousin of mine called from Michigan and said, "I have this orphaned baby mouse in my hand, and don't know what to do for it."

I said, "I have one in my hand, too!" and told her what to do.

I have no release plan for Tiki. My negligence! I intend to keep her for the rest of the summer if she stays as sweet as she is now. I hate the idea of having put so much heart and work into a critter that seems likely to be gobbled up by some hawk or owl within about 48 hours of being released.

Rebel and Reba Raccoons are down to two feedings a day, morning and evening, which makes it time to transfer them from my nursery to their Stage Two home. Randy has a very large outdoor pen where he will keep them, teaching them to climb and hunt. He will release them in September or October. He's leaving today on vacation, though, so it will be a week from Monday before they go.

Randy works, so can't take raccoons while they still need to be fed during the day. I don't have the outdoor facilities for them, so can't keep them once they are too big for a rabbit hutch. So this will be the 3rd year we've had this co-op arrangement.

Let's see: 6 birds, 4 squirrels, 2 raccoons, and 1 mouse. That makes 13 wild critters. More than twice as many as I intended to have at any given time! But really only the birds and raccoons are still being handfed.