Now, on to the critters. Let’s lead with a release. The Mississippi kite with undetermined issues resolved said issues with a little TLC from LWR. Okay, actually, all I did was provide a safe haven and a nutritious diet while he did all the hard work. Anyway, he’s free, free as a bird! (Sorry, couldn’t resist…)
The finches, on the other hand, grew like little feathered weeds.
The surviving Carolina wren should be in the flight pen but refuses to accept this, so he’s inside with the runt finch.
The three possums are growing at an insane rate and might even be releasable in another couple of weeks if they keep up this growth pace. Still camera-shy, though…
their lives are in imminent danger, let their parents finish raising them!
Why do I mention that rule? Well, aside from the obvious—that it bears repeating ad infinitum, ad nauseum this time of year—because there are times I make a judgment call and break that rule myself.
Most of you know I have Eastern bluebird nesting boxes on my property. I monitor these boxes obsessively. I know when nests are started, when each egg is laid, when they hatch, and when the babies fledge.
Yesterday we had four nestlings become four fledglings. Near dark the parent bluebirds were raising a worse than usual post-fledging ruckus, so of course I investigated. Near my flight pen, clinging to a blade of grass, was a gorgeous little fledgling. I had just killed a 3-foot rat snake outside my flight pen and an app. 18 inch one in the flight pen (you can’t snake-proof a flight pen, no matter how hard you try, unless you can hire someone to monitor it 24/7). We have barred owls, GHOs, bobcats, foxes, coyotes and Lord knows what other nocturnal predators.
I first moved the fledgling to a safer location, within sight of his frantic parents. He promptly flitted right back down to ground level. Hell would freeze over before I was leaving a defenseless fledgling on the ground at night under the aforementioned circumstances. Little Boy Blue spent the night safely inside.
This morning while I was in the flight pen I heard his parents and sibs off in the distance, so I hoped I could reunite him with his family if they’d come back within earshot of my unwilling guest. I have on occasion (two
other times in the past 10 years or so) done this and in one instance I was able to reunite the fledgling, a red-bellied woodpecker, with his parents. So far, however, this gorgeous little man’s family hasn’t been back close enough for me to put him back out to call for them. I hear them faintly, way off in the distance, but I don’t see them—and I won’t risk losing a bluebird to wandering dogs, hawks, or other diurnal predators, either. So…we’ll keep trying and see if we can stage a reunion. The woodpecker took three days before we managed to get
him back with his family, but what a reunion that was to witness! Hopefully we’ll be able to do the same for this little bluebird. Fingers crossed…