How To Save A Fallen Nestling

The little nestling

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The parent bird (yellow-vented bulbul)

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A close encounter

I must admit, I am no expert in this subject, but rather being compelled to use my common sense under somewhat intimidating circumstances. Perhaps it should be aptly titled “How I gallantly saved a fallen nestling”. After much thought I decided to use “How To Save A Fallen Nestling” which I think is more “search” friendly in the internet.

For a few days, I was curious when I saw similar birds frequenting a specific area in my patio fence covered with the creeping grapevine leaves. On closer inspection, there it was; a nest. My excitement grew each day observing the mother bird and the father bird took turns to warm the eggs. The routine exercise became a non-event after so many days. I was wondering whether I could just take a peep at the nest inside when the parents were away. After much hesitation, I thought it would be better to leave it undisturbed.

Every morning I would sit in the patio to observe nature’s way of family building. After many days of observation, I noticed a change in their routine. Instead of sitting, the parent bird would be fidgeting inside the nest and after a few seconds would fly off, and taken over immediately by the other parent. I am not an expert in birds nor an avid bird-watcher, so I couldn’t tell which one was the father and which the mother. But who cared about details; I just enjoyed seeing the busy activities knowing that the eggs must have hatched. Why was there no chirping sound? Perhaps too fragile to make any noise yet.

Something funny on the ground

One morning I noticed an unusual blob on the ground just below the nest. I took a closer look and it was a small creature with some feathers. It was dead. The parent bird must have plucked it from the nest and threw it down as it must have noticed that the little one was dead. It is nature’s way of protecting the survivors and nature's law of survival of the fittest . I took a closer look at the little one, and confirmed it lifeless. Then I moved it to the side of the fence. I was wondering how many nestlings were left inside the nest.

What’s the name of the bird

The passing days witnessed a hive of activities with the busy parent birds taking turns in feeding the baby birds. Curiosity took the better of me. When the parent birds were both away, I took out my ladder and slowly crept up to see how many nestlings there were in the nest. There was only one baby bird.

By now I would have a good picture of what the birds looked like. The bird was small in size, about 1.5 times the size of a common sparrow. It has parallel white stripes running from the eyes to both sides of the nose. I wouldn't have a clue what type of common garden bird it was. The best was to consult my sister who is an avid bird-watcher. Her immediate response was “yellow-vented bulbul”, a very common garden bird. From the dictionary, one of the meanings of “vent” is “The excretory opening of the digestive tract in animals such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.” Apparent the vent of this species of bulbuls is yellow, hence the name “yellow-vented bulbul”.

From the internet information, the yellow vented bulbuls are common garden birds in Southeast Asia. They are found in open habitats, especially in gardens and cultivated areas, and are nomadic in nature. They are lousy nest builders building fragile cup-shaped nests. This species of bulbuls is well adapted to humans and often build their nests in the gardens. No wonder! The yellow-vented bulbul lays between 2 and 5 eggs during the period February to June. Their diets are small berries and fruits, with sips of nectar and even nibble on young shoots. Small insects are not spared. One thing for sure, they certainly like my chiku fuits.


The nest clinging precariously on the vine

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The fallen nest

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The adventure began

After a few more days of casual observation, the little chirping sound became more audible, when came feeding time. Ever since the presence of the new visitors, my morning routine of having my breakfast in the patio had become more exciting and even entertaining. Then one morning I felt I heard more noise than the usual chirpings. I secretly followed the movements of the parent birds which seemed to be excited over something. Each took turn to alight on the ground, below the nest. I could only see the long grass but nothing else. There must be something hidden in the grass. Could it be the baby bird had fallen to the ground? My heart leapt. I calmly approached the spot and there it was, the baby bird with open beak waiting to be fed!

I looked up at the nest above, and found it slightly tilted. The yellow-vented bulbuls were indeed not very good at building foundation for their nests. Well, never mind about the nest. There was no way that I could stablize the nest and put the little nestling back. The more practical approach was to improvise something to keep the nestling safe and sound from any inclement weather condition or unwelcome predators. After some thinking, I decided that the best alternative was to put the nest in a pot and elevate the pot on a brick to prevent flooding in case of sudden torrential rain. To prevent the nestling from being dehydrated by the scorching tropical sun, I placed an umbrella over it, also adding a bit of privacy for the family. Take a look at the photos to get a clearer picture.

I was happy that this time I could save a life instead of accidentally doing the opposite, like the other time. What happened the other time? You can read the story after finishing reading this article. The story is about "Kittens, pitiful little kittens".

The make-shift sanctuary

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Baby bird on my hibiscus plant

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Baby bird on my chiku plant

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Then they lived happily ever after

For the next two days, I was happy to see that the birds were happy too. I sneaked over and took some pictures. The little bird was then able to perch on the brink of the flower pot. It stared at my camera lens nonchalantly, as if knowing that I was a friendly intruder. By the morning of the third day, the little bird was gone. Just as I was happily clearing the make-shift abode, the parent birds were making noises while perched on the garden wall. I thought to myself, "The little bird must be somewhere in the garden." There it was relaxing on one of the branches of my orange hibiscus plant. The next moment it was at my chiku tree. It must be inviting me to take some more photos to share with my readers before saying good-bye to me. During the final couple of days, the parents still took turns to feed the little bird. On the third day, the little bird disappeared. I was happy that they lived happily ever after.... the end.

About the photos

The photos were taken with a cheap digital camera. The results came out better than expected. Of course cannot be compared with those taken with a telescopic lens of the more expensive cameras. By and large I was satisfied with the results. Hope you like the photos, taken naturally without any alteration or "photoshop", except some cropping and highlighting.

Took these at close-range using my cheap digital camera

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Last photo of baby bird before saying good-bye

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(My video) Father bird,mother bird and baby bird (Part 1 of 2)

(My video) Father bird,mother bird and baby bird (Part 2 of 2)

Hand-feeding Nestling Starlings and Grackles

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Comments 5 comments

Ghost32 3 years ago

Great work and awesome photos. One of my now ex-wives and I once tried to save a fallen barn swallow nestling but failed; it died in less than a day. So it's good to see a baby bird story with a happier ending.

I won't be reading your Kittens story, though. Don't need the pain. I have my own stories of kittens, with both positive and negative results, and am not about to add to my own burden.

Voted Up and More.


Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 3 years ago from Malaysia Author

Hi Ghost32,

Nice to have a veteran Hubber visiting and commenting.

Thanks.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Great work! You did an excellent job tending the little one out of the nest. I also enjoyed reading about a bird that I don't have here in the United States. Thank you.


Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 3 years ago from Malaysia Author

Hi aviannovice ,

Thanks for visiting and comment. With your bird expertise, you would notice immediately that the photos taken were very amateurish and below average quality.


Aunty oriole 3 years ago

Excellent documentation. How I wish I was there. I love it.

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