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A Catbird Rescue

Saturday, June 15, 2013


What started out to be me taking Ellie-Mae outside to take care of her business
quickly turned in to a catbird rescue!

No, she’s not sleepy.
Ellie-Mae closes her eyes a bit, turns her head and begins acting all sorts of shy when I am taking her picture.  Anyway, back to the catbird story...

Ellie-Mae


Ellie-Mae had just stepped out onto the front porch when I noticed two little dark things just off the sidewalk at the edge of the pine needles.

Crype Mrytle



Getting a little closer, I noticed two tiny birds.
They were so young you could still see their skin; they were just beginning to get their feathers.

Hearing lots of chatter coming from birds high up in the Crepe Myrtle tree, I looked up and noticed a nest...

birds nest




nest



I don’t know what could have happened but the nest had somehow toppled over and was on its side.

nest


I got Ellie-Mae back in the house and headed to the kitchen to grab a napkin.
All the while I am wondering what I can do to help these baby birds,
where can I place them that is safe and where the momma bird can still tend to them?

Once back outside I took one bird at a time over to the far side of the porch.

porch


Knowing there was no way I could put them back in the nest,
I figured the next best place was in a bed of pine needles tucked at the monkey grass border.

pine needles


Once the second bird had been placed in the nest of pine needles I headed to go back inside but by the time I reached the porch there was another baby bird lying on the sidewalk.  So I placed the third little bird in the pine needles with the others.

010


I went back to see if there may have been more babies and didn't see any, but the catbirds were chattering like crazy!  Hoping they had noticed where I placed the babies, I headed back inside.

Watching from the window, it wasn't long before the momma bird was tending to her babies in their “new” nest.

This is what a mature catbird looks like and yes, their songs actually sound like a cat.

gray-catbird--tom-munson 

The next day I went out several times to check on the babies and later in the day I noticed one of the babies didn’t make it, more than likely the last one, found directly on the sidewalk.

I wasn’t sure what to do about it.
Usually momma birds will remove a dead baby from the nest, but this makeshift nest was on the ground.  Thinking ants and flies would be drawn to the dead bird, which wouldn’t be good for the remaining two babies, I decided to remove it from the nest.  Momma bird wasn’t happy!

I then noticed the two remaining babies were getting a lot of direct sun.  I thought that placing the babies in the corner of the bed at the monkey grass border would help to cover them, but they were getting several hours of direct sun.  I also notice flies, even though the dead baby bird had been removed, there were a lot of flies.

Aren’t they sweet!  One is on top of the other.

025


I couldn’t get the sun and flies out of my mind so I went to Google and searched catbirds, baby birds fallen from nests, and more.  I didn't find much to help me, but while searching I had a little more time to think about the situation and knew I had to get them off the ground…but how?!

So I went to my stash of baskets.
Gathered a bit of wire, wire cutters and a ladder.
My plan was to move the nest into a basket and hang the basket in a tree.
(see the arrows)

monkey grass


Can you see the basket nest?

basket nest



See it now?

basket nest




basket nest



After filling the basket with some pine needles and soft leaves, I attached long pieces of wire to the top of the basket handle and also to all four sides of the basket.

Choosing a smaller limb, one that hopefully a cat couldn't climb out on, but sturdy enough that if a strong wind were to come it wouldn’t break, I attached the basket.
First attaching the wire on the handle to the tree limb and also attaching both side wires to the tree limb.  The center two wires on the basket were attached to another close limb for extra stability, to keep the basket from rocking back and forth should a strong wind come.

After the basket was secure I placed the two baby birds in their new basket nest.

Not long after we had a storm, with strong winds, and everything stayed secure...whew!

basket nest


See the white arrow above?  This is the ground nest that was in the monkey grass and pine needles right below where the basket nest hangs now.

This is the momma Catbird.  I think she is much happier tending to her babies up in a tree rather than on the ground.  It is fun watching her!

catbird 




The two catbird babies.
I sure hope they stay safe and will soon fly away on their own.

003 (2)




catbird babies




catbird babies

Have any bird stories to share?

29 comments:

  1. AAAwwww!!! How sweet. Last week, my son called me to tell me the to hurry on over (He lives on the next block. Just married and just bought their first home. Complete w/ a gaudy wreath on the porch that had to stay as it housed a Wren's nest and 3 eggs) Well last Friday, the wind blew the wreath and nest down, spilling all 3 birds. We got them back in and attached the wreath back up. By this Friday 2 were old enough to fly away... :-/ They were so cute!
    I hope you get to see them fly away...
    Hugs, Gee

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  2. I'm so glad you were able to rescue the baby birds, such a sweet story!

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  3. I've done that same sort of thing. I just cannot stand to watch little babies struggling, and in trouble. I'm such a nature lover I'll do whatever it takes to try to keep them safe. Glad to know that they don't smell us if we try to help. Keep us posted, hope the two and momma stay safe!

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  4. You are absoulutely the best!! Of coarse you already know that I think Ellie-Mae is just a doll baby.

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  5. Hi Cindy,
    Those lil birds are very blessed to have found such a sweet lady to rescue them, you were very smart with all
    the things you did too. I have heard catbirds but never seen one. Pretty birds, and so great the Mom came back and took care of them, and I hope you get the joy of watching them fly the nest too.

    Hope you have a great weekend and Happy Father's Day to your hubby,
    Blessings, Nellie

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  6. Bless you Cindy for your kind heart to these creatures!!! I think they will make it because your basket nest saved the day!! Good job!

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  7. Awww, how cute! You would make a good mama bird! How brilliant you are to think of the basket solution, I'm so glad the mama went to it. Sound like your day was a busy one! Thanks for sharing such cuteness with us.
    Gina

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  8. Woman, YOU DID GOOD and it looks like you just might have put them in a location where you can keep an eye... and camera on them! Yay, you!

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  9. Love this post! What a great way to get on the web with my coffee and wake up to such a sweet post.

    XO,
    Christine

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  10. What a delightful post! So glad everyone is OK and the basket idea was just genius!

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  11. Cindy, you are such a dear person! I love this story of how you rescued the baby birds!! It's sad that the third baby didn't make it, but that's a long way to fall onto the concrete sidewalk. They were so lucky to have you to look after them. :)

    I've only seen a catbird once, many years ago. We heard a bird singing in the hedges at my husband's office (he had to go by one evening to do something at work) and I kept looking into the bushes until I saw the bird. I pointed it out to my husband, and he didn't know what it was either, so I looked it up in our bird book when we got home. It was exciting to see, as we'd never seen one before.

    Years ago, we found a bird with an injured wing in our backyard and took it to a local vet that we were told would treat wildlife. He's now our regular vet, and takes such good care of our MacDuff. :) Your basket idea was brilliant, and I'm sure it makes the mother bird happy. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    Denise

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  12. Oh Cindy, you are such a wonderful person! You are very generous and caring to go to that much trouble. :) I can't stand to see animals hurt or in pain either. You did a wonderful thing for them. You're also very clever to come up with the basket solution. Great job! I just loved this post! We had a mama dove build a nest in our gutter recently and it's been so much fun watching the babies! Enjoy your weekend!!

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  13. I'm so glad you were able to rescue the baby birdies! The basket idea was just brilliant too! I love to watch the birds but we didn't have any nests in the usual locations that I can peek into this season. I think it is because we had such crazy weather this spring?!?!
    Have a great weekend!
    ~Des

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  14. ahh , isn't nature wonderful ! and the need to nuture as amother crosses all barriers. You did such a wonderful gift for the birds.

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  15. Oh, Cindy, you're my hero! How marvelous of you to do all of this for the little birds! I know the mama bird is so glad you saved her little babies! God bless you, friend.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  16. That is the sweetest story Cindy! I have a finch nest in our plant and every morning they just tweet away and the momma is tending to them and trying to teach them to fly. It is really neat to watch. Have a great weekend!

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  17. Oh Cindy, you are such a kind person to take care of those darling babies. I'm sure the momma bird is very happy that you saved her little ones.
    I have so many hummingbirds - I started feeding with one feeder and then two and then three, now I have four and I have to fill them almost everyday. They just love my front porch and garden. I sit there and so enjoying watching them drinking. I also feed the other birds. Don't like to see anything hungry.
    God will bless you.
    Have a great rest of the weekend.
    Mary

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  18. Awwwww.......this is such a sweet post, and you are just adorable for doing all that. We had a situation last year when The Man trimmed our Palo Verde that had received some wind damage. He had to cut down quite a lot of the tree, and discovered he had completely exposed a Morning Dove's nest with 2 babies in it. He felt so bad, but there was absolutely nothing he could do. We are talking about August in AZ. There wasn't anything we could even attach some kind of screening to in order to protect them from the sun, but "Momma Dove" kept them covered and I made sure she had plenty of fresh water. I kept watch with binoculars, and they survived and flew away. Whew!

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  19. You are so sweet. Somehow the birds were very lucky to be in our garden. The baskett is such a genius idea. I hope to read news about the babies soon.

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  20. How sweet you are! I love this story...it makes me think of the old Andy Griffith show where Opie rescues a baby bird. Enjoy your week my friend and thanks for hosting a fun party!

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  21. I love this story! So sad that one baby bird did not make it, but so cheery to hear that the momma bird is tending to the birds in their new DWELLING! Stories like this remind us all that there are people everyday all over this world doing a good thing just at the time it is needed.

    Please keep us updated on the baby birds.

    Judith

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  22. Cindy,

    Bless your compassionate heart for taking the time and energy to do that for the Catbird family! What a sweet comparison to how much our Heavenly Father cares for us. I have no doubt He was looking down and smiling the whole time as you relocated then to their new home. Thanks for sharing this sweet story :)

    Debby

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  23. Oh my gosh. I should have gone to the end of your post first and then filled in the details. I was really getting anxious. I hope they make it. You have a really kind heart.

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  24. How lovely! You have grand-birds!!! :D :D :D

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  25. What a beautful post! It is so nice that you went to all of that trouble to help the babies and the mama!

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  26. Lucy says hello and thank you for sharing. Of course now she is bird watching too:) XO

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  27. Cindy, I'm so glad you put the babies up out of harms way. Here's a story for you...something similar happened at my MIL's house about a month ago. It was time for her baby cardinals to fly. One didn't make it and the ants came immediately. The other hopped around outside for two days with the parents bringing it food all the time. We had a big storm that night and the yard men came to mow one of the days. My sweet sweet mother in law told me she prayed that God would protect the baby and let it live. The third day she saw it fly. :)

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