Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grey Catbird Fledgling

While I was sitting in the reception area at the emergency vet clinic, waiting on the results of the lab work on Miss Mouse (although I already knew the outcome), I listened to the receptionist field phone calls from several people who had found baby birds and wanted to know what to do with them.

I could hear the exasperation in her voice while she tried to convince her callers to just leave the babies alone, that this was all the process of them becoming adult birds.

"No, they are quite alright. The parents kick them out of the nest when they get big enough. At that point, they are called fledglings and they may spend the better part of a couple days on the ground. But don't worry, Mom and Dad birds are close by. No, don't touch them. No, don't pick them up. You might want to look this up in Wikipedia."

Yep, when all else fails, look it up in Wikipedia.

I had a close up view of this a few days prior to my rushed trip to the vet. The grey catbirds had kicked their fledgling out of the nest and he ended up in my small garden looking somewhat worse for the wear. Mom and Dad were close by, encouraging the youngster to try flying instead of hopping around the bushes squawking at the top of his lungs. He did manage to make it to the cast iron bell holder before I left to go back to work. I took this snapshot while he teetered on the hook pondering his next move.

He and his parents were gone by the next day. I read in the Smithsonian Magazine that almost 90% of grey catbird fledglings never make it past their first summer. I hope he was one of the 10% who actually do.


dinahmow said...

Poor, frazzled vet nurse! I know exactly how she feels!It's hard to remain polite when the same people keep ringing with the same queries...

Toffeeapple said...

You have Catbirds? Well, I wonder if that is why only 10% of them make it past their first year!

Murr Brewster said...

And zero percent of them make it out my way. I'm envious. Pad those babies up and spoon-feed them--get that percentage up!

Karen said...

Di: I think the worst were the people who brought their dog in and were like, no, he hasn't been to a vet since he was a puppy and he's now five and sick with something that was probably preventable.

Toffeeapple: I see that you don't have Catbirds there in the UK. They are closely related to our Northern Mockingbird and called Catbirds due to the mewing sound they make (I can attest to that. It becomes quite annoying after a while).

Murr: 10000 Birds says it is a difficult bird to see due to its all gray coloration. I think the only reason I saw them so close this year is that they built a nest in my redbud in my small garden. Since the fledgling finally flew away, I haven't seen or heard them out back.

Toffeeapple said...

I have listened to a recording of their various calls and I am aware of the reason for their name!