As winter descends, we take a look back at a few of the nestling songbirds brought to the Wild Bird Fund last fall
By Jen Jie Li
A baby cardinal was left with its sibling in a box on the doorstep of an apartment building on the Upper West Side. Arina, a resident in the building, brought the birds to the Wild Bird Fund where they where found to be malnourished and dehydrated. Sadly, one of the siblings died within two days. This one survived, thriving in a cage with two mockingbirds, one adult cardinal, and a starling.
photo: Fred Cohen
This fledgling mockingbird was found on the sidewalk of Main Street & Union Turnpike in Kew Gardens. At the time, this fledgling was barely moving. Its eyes were closed with its head drooping. If it had been alert and healthy, it should have been left alone or placed in a nearby shrub. It’s normal for fledglings to spend several days on the ground.
In this particular case, however, it was apparent that the bird would not make it without intervention. The rescuer, Anthony, brought it to the Wild Bird Fund, where it was treated for dehydration and fed FONS formula for nestling songbirds, and where it met another mockingbird, a baby cardinal, a starling, and a noble Roman bust.
Juvenile songbirds raised in captivity need a process of “soft release,” through which they learn how to forage outdoors in the company of other adult birds (rather than finding their food in small bowls). The good news is that songbirds mature quickly. Within four weeks both the cardinal and mockingbird were taken to the Raptor Trust in NJ for soft release in the fall.