Threads in this topic are removed 90 days after the thread was started.

if you are knowledgeable re baby birds please reply! (no not the usual fallen out of nest situation)

(120 Posts)
alltoomuchrightnow Fri 18-Jul-14 03:07:09

Have house martins nesting in my porch, there are 4 chicks, still very fuzzy, eyes not fully open.
Mother and father fly back and forth all day, often till at least 9pm , feeding them, chicks are rarely left alone for more than a few minutes ( i know this as i can see through window, but the parents have never minded me and DP going in and out ; we often leave front door open.. they have often flown around our heads and carried on feeding - they seem to know we are no threat)
The mother is always on the nest at night. No idea where the father goes but by morning he's back helping with the feeding
Since early evening both parents have not appeared. It's now 3am, mother still not on nest. There's a big thunder storm right now.
(don't know if relevant) Would parents ever abandon chicks? e.g. if knew a storm was coming? If they are not back by morning, what should I do? How long can they survive without feeding?
I live about 15 miles from a famous wildlife hospital. Obviously I'd only take them there as a last resort. So how long should I leave it for if parents don't show? Really odd as they have been the most attentive parents, almost oblivious to myself, DP, and neighbours

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 18-Jul-14 03:09:05

can they go days without food?

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 18-Jul-14 03:10:07

it worries me as normally they are eating every few minutes! I thought feeds had to be every couple of hours at least.. I recall this from when i worked at a vets years ago and a nurse was hand rearing a blue tit.

SunflowerStalks Fri 18-Jul-14 05:26:44

Doesn't sound good, but hopefully once the storm finishes they will be back.

jaynebxl Fri 18-Jul-14 05:42:58

Hope the parents camw back. If not I'd call the vet and ask for advice.

PourMeSomethingStronger Fri 18-Jul-14 08:54:08

Did the parents come back op?

SaggyAndLucy Fri 18-Jul-14 10:46:08

you need Stratters. I'll go find her for you...

If a storm was in progress they would not be able to catch flies on the wing as food for their offspring , but should have resumed feeding once the rain had stopped after dawn.

PintOfWine Fri 18-Jul-14 11:00:42

Baby birds wouldn't get fed at night anyway by their parents, so they'll probably be making a noise from dawn, wanting food. Did the parents return? If not, phone up the wildlife hospital and ask them for specific advice.

IAmANightOwl Fri 18-Jul-14 11:01:16

They won't be able to go long without being fed (they are not fed by their parents over night but as soon as day breaks they start feeding again). They are insect only birds too so would need specialist care (i.e. don't stick them in a cage with seed). If the parents are not back now then I would call the wildlife hospital as a matter of urgency and then take the whole nest down to them. Please note - if you ever save a wild bird for whatever reason please DO NOT under any circumstances try to force water down its beak (or food for that matter) - birds do not have lungs like we do, they have air sacs and if water gets into them, they will drown! I have extensive knowledge of wild bird rescue from years of volunteering at my local sanctuary in case anyone is doubting my advice.

TheCunkOfPhilomena Fri 18-Jul-14 11:02:26

<sounds klaxon for Stratters>

Provided they were previously well-fed, house martin chicks can go a good while without food if they have to - more than a day. They are adapted to cope with what can be quite a sporadic food supply - weather conditions often make it difficult for the adults to hunt flying insects. The parent/s will stop brooding the chicks overnight when the chicks are about a week old. So I'd not be too worried at this stage. More info here.

Stratter5 Fri 18-Jul-14 13:17:38

Sound advice from NightOwl and Gerund; observe firstly, at that age intervention really is a last resort.

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 18-Jul-14 15:04:23

Gah i've been ill all day in bed with a killer migraine
thanks for the replies
am looking out for the parents, not seen but i'm sure i heard their cheeping at dawn
Storm is over , it's hot and sunny so parents can catch insects
I just want to SEE them, to be reassured!
They have always been very well fed.. it was constant and i did witness feeding late as 9pm sometimes by both parents
No i'd never do that IAmANightOwl… i'd take them to Tiggywinkles
Also I wonder if the mother has stopped sleeping on the nest because they are so big now. Yesterday was the first day I saw the chicks (i.e. poking heads out) normally all i can see is her sticking her beak in the nest.
But the last few previous nights (before this post) she WAS on the nest, but not covering it.. she was merely perched on the edge, which does tell me that perhaps it was due to space

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 18-Jul-14 15:21:46

GOOD NEWS so happy! just saw them being fed! thanks for all the advice, will keep it for future reference… have not lived here long (it's DP's v rural cottage) - he says they've often nested in same place

Thanks for coming back to let us know all is well. Hope the Migraine has gone away.

IAmANightOwl Fri 18-Jul-14 21:54:26

Phew, glad everything is OK! smile We get many young nests of Martins, Swifts and Swallows in and they need such specialist care - it's taken a few years to work out what to feed them on that is nutritious enough to help them grow up strong and healthy as it is impossible to mimic the diet their parents give them. We've cracked it now and they go soaring off high into the sky, strong and healthy when they are eventually released (and it's a race against the clock because they have to be released by early September) but it's a beautiful sight to see. Just wanted to put the water warning out there as we get many birds that come in but die unnecessarily because well meaning people have put water down their beaks. After all, if you don't know, you'd think you're helping them! smile

PintOfWine Fri 18-Jul-14 23:44:21

Thanks for updating!

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 00:24:01

here are the four fuzz balls (don't worry, photo taken through door crack, have massively cropped it, no chicks startled!)

Stratter5 Sat 19-Jul-14 00:26:26

Wonderful news smile

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 00:26:56

the parents were in and out all day, pooping and a flapping in the doorway, paying no attention to myself and DP's movements.. they will quite happily fly around our heads… it's definitely THEIR porch rather than ours! and that makes me :-)
Felt a bit guilty earlier, went out to view the lightening, babies heard me and got v excited, all four scrawny necks hung out, massive yellow beaks gaping.
Mother has definitely left the nest in terms of sleeping / guarding at night.. could you imagine these four beaks up your jacksy now they've grown?!

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 00:29:19

thanks NightOwl. Yes i know the water warning as am a bit of a herpetologist.. lots of similarities between birds and lizards… forcing liquid on a lizard has to be done very carefully .. in case it gets into lungs

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 00:30:22

Brilliant that you volunteer…have been thinking of volunteering at Tiggywinkles for a long time… (i've so often taken wildlife there) -

SaggyAndLucy Sat 19-Jul-14 10:44:40

how lovely that they are thriving!
We have swallows in the stables and every year they nest under the tin roof. Most years the babies die from heat stroke. sad The parents then sometimes have another go, meaning that the poor wee chaps are still tiny when they all ship out!

gobbin Sat 19-Jul-14 11:21:16

How lovely! Our NDN had a house martin nest in the apex of their roof but when the current owners moved in and repainted the house they got rid of the nest (not during breeding season) and the birds have never been back - very sad sad

IAmANightOwl Sat 19-Jul-14 17:30:20

Awww, thanks for posting the picture alltoomuch, they're so cute with their little downy tufts and angry looking beaks! grin The nest is almost as impressive - true craftsmanship at work there grin

You should definitely volunteer if you have the time, it is an amazing experience. Nature really is fascinating (although it is also cruel and heartbreaking all at the same time).

TheSpottedZebra Sat 19-Jul-14 17:41:26

Can I bump this thread to ask about a wood pigeon please?

There is an adult one in my garden - injured wing and it can't fly. It's jsut hopping round, hiding in corners, and looks quite poorly. It's been there 6 hrs or so?

i have 3 cats, who amazingly are on the other side of the garden, in the shady bit. Quite a big garden so they've not yet clocked it, but I suspect that they will eventually unless I keep them away. They are old cats now so may or may not 'finish it off', but would certainly stress it. There are dogs on either side, foxes at night, and a ton of magpies everywhere.

What should I do re pigeon? NB there is NO WAY that I could despatch it, even if it were the kindest thing to do, which I suspect it is. Is there anyone who would take on a clearly injured and sick woodpigeon, would you know? There are trees full of them here, so it would be as a kindness rather then to ensure more pigeons, iyswim.

TheSpottedZebra Sat 19-Jul-14 17:42:33

Sorry - to make it clear - I will keep the cats away, I am not about to set the cats on it, nor will I feed it to dogs, foxes. I just meant that there is no safe place to place it.

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:02:20

sad about baking babies under tin roof :-(

Here's a couple more (fuzzy) pix of the fuzzy foursome

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:03:25

well, three actually. one seems to be at the bottom of the pile most the time!

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:04:29

these are from the photos i took the other day.. i've not attempted to do any since although they are so unbothered by us…. but I have a fear of nest leaping! trying to find something to put on the porch floor as one of the chicks does tend to drape himself over the edge!

Couldn't be any cuter eh..,,

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:05:30

a lot of wildlife centres will take pigeons. whereabout are you? i worked for a vet that even took them but they had aviary cages outside.

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:06:15

do you or neighbour have shed, could you put it in box in shed whilst you try and find a carer

Stratter5 Sat 19-Jul-14 20:08:40

I take in injured pigeons, via the local vets and wildlife sanctuary, whereabouts are you? All vets will treat wildlife for free, even if it is simply to PTS a suffering animal. Can you get it to a vet?

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:08:49

in fact i know of two vets i've taken pigeons to and i can't believe a wildlife centre would turn down, so you need to ring around.
also perhaps worth ringing a pigeon club i.e. for racing pigeons, might be able to advise

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:09:38

could you tell us what town or at least county assuming you are UK?

Stratter5 Sat 19-Jul-14 20:12:57

Fuck no, don't ring anyone to do with racing pigeons. They kill any bird that gets lost, etc. I have a sneaky deal with the vets, I take the racing pigeons and nurse them back to health, they take the identifying rings off for me. Then, when they're ready, they join the colony in the town square.

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:13:12

I really want to, Nightowl. Trouble is i'm on JSA right now and can't afford the petrol though it's only about 30 miles round trip if that but so skint right now as having to pay for a storage unit and can barely afford to run car (but need it as in an extremely rural area with no public transport..but wildlife abound!). once i've got rid of storage i might consider.. (if am still out of work) i've always wanted to vol there. perhaps when i'm working more affordable.. be an evening wildlife 'ambulance' driver. they have seen so much of me over the years.. have taken so many birds, rabbits etc! even an angry injured seagull. Obviously they don't pay expenses… so i have to be able to get there if i vol'd (i will always take injured animals there though, no matter what)

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:14:27

really Stratter? ok wrong advice sorry was racking brain, that;s awful.
Some vets are ethical… but yeh unless you work there you're not going to know for sure. one i worked at kept pigeon in aviary for months before releasing but they are sadly not the norm I guess

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:15:08

(by not the norm, they even took in a wild rat and kept it in rehab for months! and we had hedgehogs etc etc.. they never said no… )

Madrigals Sat 19-Jul-14 20:16:22

Very glad to read the parents returned smile We saved a nest of fallen birds this year as poor house martens had nested in a nest that wasn't stable sad

Local wildlife rescue said they were sure at least 2 of the 3 would survive - they had fallen such a long way but luckily into a soft bed of undergrowth, so were ok.

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:16:26

glad you have a vet like that Stratter5

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:17:16

the nest is indeed a work of art. it's actually full of horse hair! we are next to an equestrian centre as well as many stables . nice to see the hair getting used!

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:18:13

just look at that middle face in the last photo. couldn't be more comical or cartoonish! i giggle every time i look up at the nest. they are absurd looking but so adorable

Bassetfeet Sat 19-Jul-14 20:46:53

So pleased that the nestlings are ok OP. Lovely thread .

Roofers took down my nest in the eaves one year so I bought an artificial one from reputable source. The birds returned ....oh I love that first chee chee I hear in the sky .....and built a new nest on top of the artificial one .
I loved to lean out of the landing window and whistle to the babies .

Sadly no aerial dolphins this year . They have gone . No colony nearby. Numbers of swallows and martins are down hugely where I live .
Your pics made me smile .

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:48:47

didn't know you could get artificial nests! great idea. just found evidence of old nest where there's a missing brick in front of Dp's falling apart cottage . It's a mess… no wonder they build a clever new one!

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 20:50:03

today is first day the babies have made the chee chee sound (that i've noticed , anyway) they just did it to me as i stepped into porch! v quiet but definitely a chick sized chirp

TheSpottedZebra Sat 19-Jul-14 20:56:41

Gosh, really sorry to have missed your replies re pigeon. I did call the pigeon fanciers, but the chap was honest and said that they'd just wring his neck. The vets I rang said that they would also just PTS. We were going to take him to vet, and just as I was getting the cat box out (so at back of shed) the kids moved the box it was under and it hopped away. The cat went for it, so my DS grabbed the cat... Just as I'd got them all inside, a sparrowhawk took it.

I feel like the crappest animal lover today.

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 21:02:54

bloody hell that's horrible re neck wring :-(
Sparrowhawk wow! hope pigeon was put out of misery quickly! not your fault

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 21:03:27

hawk must have been watching and waiting. my friend saw one steal a baby robin from nest recently :-(

Stratter5 Sat 19-Jul-14 21:08:40

I'm horrified he told you that. Poor pidge, the sparrowhawk will despatch pretty quickly though. sad

MothershipG Sat 19-Jul-14 21:11:54

Spotted Sad for the pigeon, but that Sparrowhawk probably has babies to feed as well, it's circle of life stuff, so don't feel bad.

TheSpottedZebra Sat 19-Jul-14 21:14:42

(Stratters, I just PM-ed you!)

alltoo - as I jsut wrote to Stratters in the PM, I called a few vets and they said no. One explained that there just aren't the resources where we are to treat wood pigeons who are very injured - all their rehab would go to rarer or struggling species, 'interesting ones', or ones that tap into people's love - eg bunnies. He said that wood pigeons fall into the crack of the only people who are super into pigeons - ie fanciers - see the woodies as 'other' or sometimes the enemy. And that woodies are seen as going for people's crops. The vets also suggested that I just find someone nearby who could dispatch it quickly (am on cusp of small town/deep country so lots of farmer types about).

TheSpottedZebra Sat 19-Jul-14 21:16:56

You're right, MothershipG - circle of life and all that.
I cannot tell if the sparrowhawks are either thriving or struggling at the mo round here. They are getting less scared of people and quite bold - so they are either just adapting, or food is more scarce and they are having to take more risks.

IAmANightOwl Sat 19-Jul-14 21:17:03

Aww, those pics are so cute, alltoomuch! They look a healthy size, the parents are obviously superstars! grin I understand about the volunteering, it isn't cost-free unfortunately - I don't drive so had to get 2 buses just to get there but it was worth it just to play with the baby Tawny Owls in the Summer! grin

I also agree re Racing Pigeons - never call anyone about a lost one as they will just be surplus to requirements if they didn't make it home with the rest. They are such darlings though - love caring for them.

TheSpottedZebra - Have you managed to catch the little guy? If you can find a rehab centre, you'd be amazed how with the right treatment, his wing could be healed (if it's not too damaged that is). If you are struggling to catch him, get an old towel and put it over him -always works for me if I need to catch one up. Give him a bowl of seed and water but please don't try to force anything down his beak if he isn't interested. Also, be aware that some Vets will just PTS Pigeons, regardless of whether they could recover with the right treatment or not. If you put him in a shoebox, make sure it has plenty of air holes etc. Good luck smile

Glad there are so many people out there helping injured and sick wildlife - it goes a little way to restoring my faith in human nature thanks

IAmANightOwl Sat 19-Jul-14 21:22:03

Oops, thread really moved forward whilst I was posting! grin

I love Birds of Prey and have handled many, although I do struggle with their hunting methods (especially the Sparrowhawk) it is the 'circle of life' and they do tend to pick on old or injured birds so it was probably the best thing in the end for the poor guy (as bad as that sounds) sad

You had the best of intentions Zebra but Mother Nature got there first thanks

Stratter5 Sat 19-Jul-14 21:41:36

I just fell into rehab/fostering. I rescued a duck, got a few more, then people started bringing me orphaned and injured animals. My vet then asked me if I'd like to be one of their on call fosterers, and passed my details on to the wildlife sanctuary up here. It's sort of snowballed since then, but as it's only me, I do only take in what I can safely manage. Somehow, that has turned into me being the local bird centre, as nobody else round here takes then; as you said, Zebra, people tend to prefer the fluffy, cuddly things although I think pidges are pretty fluffy and cuddly. It's so rewarding though.

Pigeons are one if my favourites, the babies are so ridiculously ugly, and they are incredibly affectionate and intelligent birds.

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:01:29

yes Nightowl they are great parents… feeding babies up till about 10pm. I can constantly hear them, or see the fluttering through the door window (they are also next to our bedroom.. we are cottage bungalow). We do leave front door open a lot though.. it's so stuffy at the moment.. they are not bothered. We don't live on a proper road, and no proper traffic, no street lights.. so they are v relaxed around us, not a lot to spook them. Our very geriatric cat will occasionally sit in the porch but he doesn't even look at them.. parents will cheep at him but carry on as normal
Am trying to persuade DP that we need to create a soft landing in case babies fall out! One of them keeps waggling his little wing stumps

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:02:11

I love pigeons too Stratter.. such comical and clever creatures…. hang on and I'll find a pic from last year which always makes me smile

RoseyHope Sat 19-Jul-14 23:09:08

I looooove pidgeons. If anyone is in East Sussex/West Kent area, the Folly Wildlife rescue will take in all your injured pidges, we love them! Something about the little ugly-cute babies. We have loads of babies in atm, such greedy little things they are! But so sweet, they wiggle their wings and squeak at you if you go near their incubators to tell you they're hungry. Even the big ones which should be eating adult food for themselves still squeak. Big babies!

It's house martin and swallow season atm so lots of babies in nests everywhere. We have about 2 dozen of them now. They do need feeding every 30min during the day though. Lovely!

Stratter5 Sat 19-Jul-14 23:13:10

This is one I raised from a tiny week old baby. He successfully integrated back into the wild, and bred. He used to bring his family to visit, and sit on my shoulder for a chat.

And the two smaller ones are Hagrid and Hodor, from this year's lot. I get mostly pigeons and ducklings, but it's quite a varied 'job'.

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:17:57

oh gorgeous Stratter , he's beautiful

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:18:39

love how he looked so put out after his flirting and puffing up failed

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:19:14

in my dinner last year

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:19:31

oh i had two more but only allowed to post 6 pix a day!

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:19:55

love their colours. people don't appreciate them!

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:20:48

fantastic he visits with his family grin

Stratter5 Sat 19-Jul-14 23:21:58

Agree, they are stunningly beautiful, the colours on a woodie are beautiful.

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:22:38

one of my have sounds too (wood pidge)

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:22:43

fave not have

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 19-Jul-14 23:23:50

Rosey and Stratter, how do you safely give them water?

Stratter5 Sat 19-Jul-14 23:27:14

Baby birds? Ones that need to be fed, as opposed to those that are self feeders, get all the water they need from their feed. I don't introduce water into they're steadily pottering about, and pecking at stuff, then they get a jam jar lid with gravel and water in it. They're not the brightest of things, and tend to drown/get soaked otherwise. Self feeders get the same, except water fowl, who are ok with water.

hellymelly Sat 19-Jul-14 23:30:43

I love pigeons too. When I lived in London I kept one of those sharp little seam ripper tools in my bag, to cut the horrible twine that sometimes they get on their feet and legs, that causes them to lose toes. Scissors are no good, it is too easy to jab a leg, as the stuff gets so tight around the legs- the quick unpick tool was the best thing. I did rather horrify the Standard seller on Oxford st when I suddenly grabbed a pigeon by his feet! (I sorted out the nylon twine tying its legs together and off it happily flew).

Dontgotosleep Sun 20-Jul-14 00:04:46

Aww wonderful news. So glad mummy and daddy came home. The chicks are adorable. Sending them virtual cuddles.

alltoomuchrightnow Sun 20-Jul-14 02:20:43

wonder if can post again

alltoomuchrightnow Sun 20-Jul-14 02:21:50

ahh that's great Helly i hate seeing that stuff round their legs

alltoomuchrightnow Sun 20-Jul-14 02:28:34

BTW in Dunstable, there is a charity shop in aid of Chicken and Duck rescue!

alltoomuchrightnow Sun 20-Jul-14 02:28:54

which I think is awesome. Shall have to pay a visit soon

RoseyHope Sun 20-Jul-14 07:06:24

Rosey and Stratter, how do you safely give them water?

Same as Stratter here! All our hand fed babies have water in their food. For pigeons it's a liquid mixture or kaytee parrot powder and water, and then it gets gavaged/squirted down really far into their crop. For the songbirds it's a more gluggy mixture made from cat meat, beef mince, kaytee and water. They eat off a stick or long tweezers.

I will see if I can find some photos of our babies! I need to get one of one of our newer resident pigeons. He came in about 2 months ago and we named him Chickigeon because he is actually really chicken-shaped. He's magnificent!

RoseyHope Sun 20-Jul-14 07:46:14

Some pigeons squishing a collared dove :D , a few house martins and a teeny baby wren.

Stratter5 Sun 20-Jul-14 09:45:40


Here's my wrens from last year. Simply the smallest, sweetest little things

alltoomuchrightnow Sun 20-Jul-14 14:25:31

baby pidges are so cute and funny! wrens are pretty. one flew onto my big toe the other day in the garden (I had my feet up) which was a surprise. We have green woodpeckers here too, but they don't get that close!

alltoomuchrightnow Sun 20-Jul-14 14:26:43

aww look at the baby house martins once they get their feathers. mine are not at that stage yet but getting there

Madrigals Sun 20-Jul-14 14:33:27

DH and I have been shamelessly cooing admiring the lovely pics of rescue birds.

You are wonderful, all you rescuers smile

Madrigals Sun 20-Jul-14 14:41:20

Just wanted to add, in case anyone reading is thinking of donating, we donated to our local rescue this week via their website - enough to look after 3 nests of fledglings, according to their site.

We are thinking of becoming regular donors having realised how few places there are locally which will care for birds and that they seem in need of funds.

alltoomuchrightnow Sun 20-Jul-14 16:25:02

there is a new post on Chat
re a pigeon with broken wing, if anyone could advise?

TheSpottedZebra Sun 20-Jul-14 16:25:06

Pigeon people, there is another poorly pidge here with OP also seeking advice...

TheSpottedZebra Sun 20-Jul-14 16:25:20

Oh, cross post!

alltoomuchrightnow Sun 20-Jul-14 16:35:57

oh thanks i don't know how to link

alltoomuchrightnow Tue 22-Jul-14 01:38:40

babies yesterday, have grown so big in just two days!

TheSpottedZebra Tue 22-Jul-14 09:55:36

OMG they are lovely!
And you're doing so well as a foster carer grin

Madrigals Tue 22-Jul-14 10:15:12

They are gorgeous smile

alltoomuchrightnow Tue 22-Jul-14 12:27:28

i know :-) All I have to do is admire. Their parents are fantastic, luckily for them

They are looking great! They are also looking like swallows rather than house martins - orange chins rather than white, and orange forehead patches too.

RoseyHope Tue 22-Jul-14 22:07:33

Ohh so lovely! Yes definitely swallows by the looks of it. Oof, their little faces <33

RoseyHope Tue 22-Jul-14 22:11:19

A little tufted duckling from this week smile A right numpty; he spent most of his time leaping out of his incubator belly-first into the hand rearing mix

TheSpottedZebra Tue 22-Jul-14 22:21:13

Well, he's a lovely little podge!

alltoomuchrightnow Tue 22-Jul-14 22:33:30

ah ! wow! DP swore they were house martins! because he's all knowledgeable as he's been living out here in the sticks for about 8 yrs longer than me! ;-) I shall correct him!
Oh that duckling!!! too much cuteness

alltoomuchrightnow Tue 22-Jul-14 22:34:51

the amount of poo & wee (well, urates) in our porch is colossal now ! luckily i'm not bothered ;-) must be from the parents

There are housemartins who normally nest in an archway at DC's school. They seem pretty resilient as they ignore the comings and goings of DC and parents. However, they didn't show up this year - possibly something to do with the kestrels nesting 20 feet away in a gutter grin.

We have martins nesting around the house most years - really fun to watch them catching bugs over the fields in the evening.

House Martins and Swallows both nest around buildings, though Swallows usually go inside (eg in barns/sheds) and House Martins stick their nests under the eaves. They are easy to tell apart if you get a good view. House Martins have white underneaths from chin to undertail, and white bum patches. Swallows are all dark shiny blue on their upperside, have orange chins and foreheads, dark chests, and whitish bellies. Adult Swallows also have really looong tails.

alltoomuchrightnow Tue 22-Jul-14 23:22:04

hmm not sure now. They are not proper inside i.e. not in a hole…. as you can see from photos she built it in a corner. Of porch roof.
There are stables here and hundreds of them nest there and they're always referred to as house martins. I need to get a better look at the parents who are always so quick, but they don't have long tails

Swallows don't nest in holes, they just like more enclosed bits of buildings, like ledges inside outbuildings. And porches grin. They very commonly nest in stables. My sister has them nesting on a shelf in her garage. House martins rarely nest anywhere else on buildings besides under eaves on outside walls, and their nests are usually made almost entirely from neat little balls of mud stuck together, not incorporating bits of grass/straw.

Here is a pic of a baby house martin, just a little older than your babies - white not orange chin smile

alltoomuchrightnow Wed 23-Jul-14 18:56:32

babies just now. Pity poor number 4 always squashed in this hot weather

alltoomuchrightnow Wed 23-Jul-14 18:58:57

So, they probably are swallows! thanks for the info. I think we have house martins in the eaves though

RoseyHope Wed 23-Jul-14 19:09:34

They're looking so good! Getting their lovely iridescence now. Isn't it amazing how quickly they grow. We had a lady bring in a lovely big juvenile pigeon, she was shocked when we told her it was only 2 weeks old!

alltoomuchrightnow Wed 23-Jul-14 19:11:32

they've grown feathers in just two days. they still looked like proper babies then about three day back. and the nest is getting crowded! and i'm flapping around like a mother bird ;-) worried they will fall from nest.. still not found anything suitable to put below them over all the droppings

alltoomuchrightnow Wed 23-Jul-14 19:12:05

they keep stretching and flapping their stumpy little wings

alltoomuchrightnow Wed 23-Jul-14 19:13:23

look at the photo i posted first of all! on saturday. difference is incredible, imagine if human babies grew that quick grin

RoseyHope Wed 23-Jul-14 19:17:24

Old pillowcase, big sack or bag filled with rags/straw/newspaper? They're often ok with falls, especially sturdy swallows! Unless it's quite a big fall. It's more the little ones with long fragile legs and soft bodies that get hurt by them. Dunnocks, wrens etc. A wee dunnock the other day made a break for freedom leapt out of his incubator, forgetting he couldn't fly. Poor thing was all stunned and floppy but he perked up again soon after.

alltoomuchrightnow Wed 23-Jul-14 20:06:23

ahhh good to know. yes will try do that
only concern is hard porch to fall on rather than mud

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 25-Jul-14 19:11:43

taken today. Plumpness and plumage!

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 25-Jul-14 19:20:01

also today

So lovely. They'll be fledging very soon!

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 25-Jul-14 20:54:41

i know! DP reckons they could go as far as Tunisia on their migration! without tagging them (which of course I wouldn't ) i'll have no way of knowing if they've returned to me next year!

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 25-Jul-14 20:55:27

and having their own chicks. It would be nice if nest was reused!

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 25-Jul-14 20:56:21

as these photos show 3, it seems that number 4 is being permanently squashed!

They can go way further than that! Most British swallows migrate to South Africa. Given that they can live for 10 years or more, that's a lot of miles in a lifetime.

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 25-Jul-14 22:33:30

incredible! just can't get my head round it. Do they sleep in flight?

As far as I know, swallows don't sleep in flight - when migrating they stop often to rest and feed and it takes them a couple of months or more to reach South Africa. On some parts of the journey where there aren't good places to stop, eg crossing the Sahara, they might stay awake and fly continuously for 24 hours or more.

Swifts apparently sleep in flight - they fly up very very high, about 1.5km, and then glide along, and it's thought that they then do unihemispheric sleep (the same way that dolphins sleep) - one hemisphere of the brain sleeps while the other stays awake.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now