ROBIN RESCUES: This was the year for robin rescues; close to 40 were rescued and released.
Recently, there were 10 young robins recovering peacefully together in the large outdoor flight cage at Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society with three Eurasian doves. All had recovered from cat attacks or window hits and the exit flap door was opened to allow and encourage release. No one left!
By day four, the robins started to leave. Finally two doves did disappear for the day but were back by the evening.
And so it went, many comings and goings. At one point there were six doves in the cage, they had brought their friends. But eventually, over a week, they were all gone, and the exit flap was closed.
The next morning, when PROWLS president Merrilee Prior opened her backdoor, sitting on the threshold was one of the young robins, injured once again by a cat. Unable to put weight on its damaged leg, it knew where to get help.
Robins are enjoyed by their human rescuers because they are such cheerful and cooperative patients who do not imprint.
Songbirds that genetically anticipate being pushed out of the nest at a certain age do not habituate like other birds that have strong family bonds: crows, ravens, jays, pigeons and geese. Whereas this baby robin, a songbird, soon realized the ring of the timer every 15 minutes meant “feeding time” and began to gape (opening and closing its beak).
Birds characterized by strong family bonding are also more intelligent from our point of view, able to do complex and sequential tasks set by humans. Not so with the songbirds, whom we appreciate for their vast repertoire of melodies.