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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Young Eagle

Just to keep things interesting around here, this fell out of a barn nest a couple Sundays ago.


He was in a sort of secure location, so I left him, hoping his mom would figure out what to do.


When she didn't and he started doing this...


...AND THIS!   

...you know what I did.

He was far too young to be out in the world so I gave him some meal worms (that he gobbled up) picked him up, stuck him in a bucket with some hay, covered him with some netting and took him to the house.

We have two types of birds that aggravate the socks off us live in the barn - big annoying birds and small annoying birds.  I figured he was the small annoying variety, so looked up sparrows and what to feed them and a couple places mentioned dog foods that provided protein and he readily approved.

Fun fact, it only took about two days before he figured out the microwave (aka baba maker ;-) meant food and would start "baa-ing" just like the lambs do.  


I pulled one of the heated beds from the cat condo and set it under his bucket at night and that worked perfect to keep him warm, but not too warm.  After about a week, once his feathers started growing in, I picked up this awesome brooder box from a friend and moved him into it.  


I added some branches so he could practice perching and he grew and grew.

The first few days we had the cage on the house porch.  It was handy, but I worried that he wasn't getting to see other birds eating in real life. Then, on Saturday, he got super excited while I was feeding him - he liked to perch on the side of the bowl while I stuck clumps of dog food into his mouth - and he flew out the open door.

He flew (as Tim said, "like a wiffle ball") to the nearest tree, just out of reach.  Panicked and flew higher.  Wanted to come back down, but couldn't figure out how - up is easier than down apparently - so the next thing you know, yep, I'm up on the roof.

When I was getting his food ready, I'd say "cheep cheep" and he'd answer "cheeeep".  He'd also use that call to tell me when he was hungry.  I used "cheep cheep" and his "cheeep" to find him in the tree and eventually he was able to figure out how to land on the chimney where I was standing, I gave him some food and picked him up.  Whew!


Moving him to the Wool House porch was a great idea.  



Less (a little less at least) cat traffic, much more bird traffic, only one tree (that wasn't quite as TALL), morning sun (he's not an early riser and frequently would want to wait until 8:00 to really dig into breakfast) and afternoon shade.  



I put a feeder out front, scattered loose seed on the railing and in the birds came.  All sorts of sparrows, some his kind, some probably a little different.  They talked to him, he talked to them, I hope he watched them eating and drinking and yesterday afternoon I opened the door.

I felt pretty sure he'd fly around and then come back when he got hungry.  He did.  The plan was to feed him like that until evening and then lock him back up for the night, but then Tim mowed the lawn, scattering everyone and I feared the worst.  "Cheep cheep?"  "Cheep cheep?"  No reply :-/.

This morning I headed out, hoping for the best, but again, no reply.  I didn't give up hope though because, remember, he's not the early bird, and by 8:30 I'd found him!  All was well.  I tried to feed him again at lunch, but he wasn't interested, hopefully because he was full of bird seed and insects.

About an hour ago, when I came in to post these pictures (in the air conditioned house with the doors and windows closed) I heard a loud "cheeeep" outside.  Not uncommon because we have tons of these birds around.  "Cheeep".   Surely that's not him.  "Cheeep".  I'd better go check...and sure enough, he'd come to the house looking for me.  

"Hey lady, how about firing up that baba maker!"

I've never been so happy to see a little annoying bird.  I'll keep feeding him like that as long as he wants it, but hopefully he's well on his way.  At least he doesn't fly like a wiffle ball anymore ;-).

Tim named him The Young Eagle because I volunteer with the Young Eagle program at the Cynthiana Airport.  Perfect.


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