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PROWLS nurtures baby birds

Golden-crowned sparrow

We started this season, as we often do, with nestling ravens. Raucous and demanding, these big babies bond quickly with their caregivers.

Since ravens nest at the top of mature trees, when the nestlings come out of the nest, it is an eight-storey drop or more, bouncing off branches on the way down. The soft bodies are often injured and require extra care.

As these precocious nestlings are very endearing, they get all the care they need. They quickly learn to pick up the food provided, playing with it and caching it for future snacks, thus sparing us regular feeds.

This kind of nest is in sharp contrast to the next species that came in, golden-crowned sparrows [see photo above].

These small birds nest on the ground, deep under shrubbery. The canopy above the nest protects the tiny, vulnerable chicks from weather and flying predators, while providing a safe space for the rapidly developing youngsters to stretch legs and wings.

As ground foragers who scratch for bugs, the nest is also perfect for the babies to start exploring food sources. Unfortunately, they are also easy prey for roaming cats.

Both of the chicks we got were found well away from their nests, carried and dropped in the open. They both required antibiotics, and one has a broken leg.

They are comfortably settled now, though, and quite satisfied with the feeding schedule: every 15 minutes!