by Calah Beckwith
Lead Wildlife Keeper
With cool temperatures and changing leaves, it feels as though summer has been over for a while now. Birds have been gathering in mixed-species flocks and foraging relentlessly in preparation for migration. Baby birds are all grown up and fending for themselves.....or are they?
VINS rehabbers are playing parent to two very special - and adorable - late bloomers. A fledgling American goldfinch graced our doorstep a few days ago. He was found cold, hungry, and parentless. Though goldfinches typically breed later in the summer - their child-rearing coincides with peak seed production - this little guy is especially young. With an inability to find food on his own and very limited flight, this fledgling could not survive without the care of his parents. We aren't certain why he was left on his own with no adult goldfinches around, but we were more than happy to help the tyke. We got him warmed up, and he took to hand-feeding right away. He still has quite a bit of growing up to do, so we'll take care of him until he's ready to live on his own in the wild.
Another late bloomer, a fledgling American robin, found himself in need of our assistance after being attacked by a cat. He arrived three weeks ago with a broken leg and a bruised body. After a week with a leg splint and special medication to ward off cat-related bacteria, the little robin was (mostly) good as new. This little robin is also a bit of a runt and seems to be developing much more slowly than most robins we've cared for in the past. That's okay, though. He's eating well and gaining weight and starting to grow some "big kid" feathers. He's got a little ways to go - he still needs to learn to eat on his own - so we'll make sure he learns the ropes before he heads out into the real world.
Two unusually late babies, but we're honored to help them grow and thrive. It's a nice way for us to hang on to summer just a little big longer.