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Orphaned starling bonds with robins at PROWLS

Baby robins

FAST FRIENDS: Three baby robins were nestled snugly in a crocheted nest at Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society when suddenly a baby orphaned starling, eyes just opened, was added to their family.

Being a cavity dweller rather than a nest builder, this was a new experience for the starling, which it soon began to appreciate, settling into their warmth and calling for food. It quickly bonded with one of the robins.

Robins are very good parents but it was a little soon for the robin nestlings to take on this role, even though they mature more quickly than starlings. Both species are helpless at birth, although the nestling period for robins is only 13 days whereas for starlings it is 21 to 23 days.

Because the robin nestlings were slightly younger than the starling nestling, they were all cozy and compatible together, soon busy hopping in and out of the nest and sharing food. The starling was especially playful.

After being indoors together for two weeks and acquiring strength and feathers, they all moved into the larger backyard flight cage to practice their flying skills. In less than a week the hatch door on their flight cage was opened and they quickly flew out.

Released in the backyard at PROWLS, both the robin and the starling that had bonded soon discovered the kitchen window behind which they had previously been caged and fed. They would tap and peck on this window still hoping for handouts.