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PROWLS attempts to save hermit thrush

Hermit thrush

EARLY MIGRATION: Songbirds migrate in the fall while their sedentary relatives, such as ravens, crows and jays, stay home for the winter.

Last year the Swainson’s thrush, whose flute-like song delights us all, started leaving the first weekend in August, weeks earlier than usual. Its similar cousin, the elusive hermit thrush, started leaving two to three weeks later.

So when Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society president Merrilee Prior received a call in October for a little bird chased by a cat that then hit a window and was caught by the cat, she was totally surprised to find it was a hermit thrush. Possibly it was a young one that got left behind.

She found it absolutely emaciated and close to death. Hand feeding it every half hour, first with a special formula for emaciated birds, and then baby formula, it slowly got stronger, waiting at the door and licking its beak when it heard the timer.

When it arrived, it weighed just 15 grams instead of the 30 to 45 grams it should weigh. Eight days later it was only up to 16 grams.

Unfortunately, the combination of strikes against the little bird was too much, and it died on the 10th day. Life is hard for the little birds.