Diet for a Small Bird

Say hello to Tweety. Tweety is a Myna bird.

Let me tell you a little story...

LB and I were taking our dogs for a walk last Thursday and came upon a nest that had fallen out of a tree.

"Oh, look at the baby bird!" -LB
"Look at how cute he is." - MP
"Yeah, he's really cute." -LB

At this point, Tweety extended his spindly little neck, tweeting, and opened his enormously wide mouth, shaking it and tweeting.

"Oh, look how hungry he is." -LB
"Poor baby bird." - MP

At this point, Tweety extended his spindly little neck, tweeting, and opened his enormously wide mouth, shaking it and tweeting.

"He's kind of cute." - MP
"Yeah, he's really cute." - LB
"Should we take him home?" - LB

"oh, I don't know if that's a good idea..." - MP

At this point, Tweety extended his spindly little neck, tweeting, and opened his enormously wide mouth, shaking it and tweeting.

"He's really hungry." - LB
"Yeah, he looks hungry." - MP

"He sure is cute..." - LB

"Yeah, he's really cute." -MP

"What if he dies out here?" - LB
"He probably will. Poor baby bird." - MP

At this point, Tweety extended his spindly little neck, tweeting, and opened his enormously wide mouth, shaking it and tweeting. So, LB picked up the nest that Tweety was in, and started carrying him home.

"Wait a sec, what are you doing?" - MP
"Taking him home. You said he was cute and he's really hungry and would die if we didn't help him. So I know you, and you want to take him home and help him." - LB

"NO. I said he was cute, and he is, but I don't want a baby bird! What are we going to do with a baby bird?" -MP

"Well, it's too late now, we've got a baby bird." - LB

So, somehow, we are the proud parents of Tweety.
Tweety has to be fed once an hour all day long. (Guess who gets to feed Tweety. Hint: Not the one who brought him home.)
Tweety lives in an empty Corona box with an old towel as a nest.
Our dogs want to eat Tweety (we won't let them).
Tweety poos all over the place every time he eats. (Guess who gets to clean Tweety too)

But he is cute. Especially when he extends his spindly little neck, tweeting, and opens his enormous little mouth and begs for food. It's especially cute because he does it now if we whistle at him.

Tweety is an invasive species, as are many of the birds here (couldn't get lucky and find some kind of an endemic pretty parrot-looking thing, could we?). And while he might have died in the wild (which I would have been fine with - that's nature, right?), I don't want him to die now that he's with us. We'll most likely release him as soon as he fledges and can eat on his own - supposedly, after 29-35 days. Stupid cute bird. Stupid soft heart. I'll keep you updated on Tweety's progress - he's much stronger now than when we found him. He opened his eyes the day after we brought him home and gets more feathers every day (ie. gets cuter too). Btw, we're not sure Tweety is a he or she, but for whatever reason, we decided he looks like a he, so there you go.

My brother and I actually raised 3 baby magpies in Colorado on dog food when I was a kid because their mother was killed (I won't go into the details of how, but suffice it to say we knew it was their mother). They all successfully fledged and hung around the farm where I grew up for quite a while. I'm definitely NOT condoning raising baby birds (nor taking them or any other wild animal out of the wild and into your home to raise them - especially marine animals!! Do as I say and not as I do!), but sometimes it just so happens that you end up with a baby bird (ahem, like when your husbands decides to bring one home), and well, I guess if you find yourself with one, here's what you can feed them:

Diet for a Small Bird (specifically, a baby Myna bird), serves 1

Soak several pieces of dry dog kibble in warm water until soft, then smash with a fork or a mortar and pestle. Feed the equivalent of 3 kibble pieces to the baby bird using blunt plastic tweezers, per hour while you are awake and until it gets dark in the evening. Occasionally, mix it up with small pieces of apple bananas or papaya, as Myna's are omnivorous. After feeding, give him a few drops of water via a plastic dropper. Try not to fall in love, and hope he fledges quickly.

15 comments from you:

Ann said...

Congrats on your new baby! :-)

So you are dealing with shaking and tweeting every hour? What time doesz this start in the morning?

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Tweety is AWFULLY cute. . . . I would've been tempted, too.

Michelle said...

Hi Ann,
Thanks! Yep, shaking and tweeting all day long...it starts when we get up (about 6:30 AM; though I make LB feed him until he goes to work, since he brought the bird home!), but we put him to "bed" as soon as it gets dark!

Hi Sally,
I know, I'm trying not to fall for him...

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Not the one that picked him up and carried him home . . . . that's life. Well, he is cute and you obviously have the proper experience.
Fledge now, fledge now . . .

Michelle said...

Tanna, you should see him now! I'll have to post more pictures - he's out of the cage all day long now and he can *sort of* fly! Still hasn't left the yard, but hopefully one of these days...

Sophie said...

What a sweet photo! Aww, I love birdies. I can't say I've ever had to nurse a wild one back to health, but at one point in my life, I was the proud mommy of 5 birdies; from English Budgies to cockatiels and finches, I loved them all! :) Now I just have two guineas, but they keep me pretty busy :D.

Michelle said...

Sophie, He's looking cuter these days - way more feathers!! Wow - 5 birds! I can't imagine! This one is a handful! (Course, you probably got to keep yours in cages - that helps!! Less poo on the patio!)

Ill-Used Heroine said...

I'm raising a baby mynah myself, so you definitely have my sympathy and support. I'm feeding a mixture of banana/apple/pear baby food with ground quick oats and peanut butter and the bird is growing quickly. She (I think it's female, but who knows?) still can't stand up or walk, but she leans back and stretches her wings and I've taught her to balance on a perch (finger or branch). *sigh* So loveable....

Scintilla said...

Such a nice story. Makes a change from gourmet food huh?

I know, I can't resist rescuing creatures either !

Michelle said...

Heroine, Aww! That's a good mix too. Tweety seems to be doing great...as he gets older, he's wanting the dog food less and less (presumably he's eating more insects, and well, he is a bird and not a dog). They do make a nest in your heart, don't they? Turns out Tweety isn't a Mynah either... I'll post that soon...best of luck with your little baby!

Ill-Used Heroine said...

Wow ... Tweety sure looks just like mine did, and she's definitely a common mynah. I'm now beginning to believe that she was either kicked out of the nest or fell out, because she has a bad left foot, and still can't walk very well. I have a feeling she never will, so I'm planning on keeping her. I was very lucky to find some softbill pellets at the local pet store, since the online ones that carry it don't ship to Hawaii (imagine that! ) ... but what else is new? ;) I'm mushing it up and adding it to her daily food, so she gets used to it. I've also introduced fresh fruit, which she's s l o w l y learning to peck at. My biggest problem is having to take her to work with me every day (since she still has to be hand fed) and we have air conditioning. Not much I can do about that. :(

maybelles parents said...

It is funny to see a reference to invasive species on a food blog. Tell me more about that. WHat is happening to change flying invasive species, in that they are hard to pin down, I would guess? In my non-blogging life, I do biology curriculum for high school, and we are doing a lesson about just this... Anyway, I like the tone of your blog. very interesting.

Michelle said...

IUH, it's probably a good thing she fell under your care! Tweety ended up being a red-vented bulbul. I was lucky that I was working mostly from home so I was able to spend lots of time with Tweety when he was young. Best of luck with your little mynah!

MP, Yeah, we'll, I AM a scientist! :) The only thing I think that they can do about species that can fly are to eradicate them as they are identified, if the population hasn't taken hold yet. I know they are doing this on some of the other islands where some of the invasive species haven't made it yet. What's sad is that many of the species that are so prevalent here were brought here and either purposefully or accidentally released by people. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

I need help, found a baby Mynah! said...

um, hi michelle, i have found a baby mynah, and dont have any of those foods u sed
is there anything else i can feed it? lyk insects...or wat type of insects.
please i really need help, and its about 3 weeks old wen i found it.

Michelle said...

Hi - I think you can feed it insects, but I'm not sure - ours didn't especially like millipedes or ants or any of the other common ones around here, but then again, he didn't end up being a mynah. You could certainly feed it any kind of fruit, baby food (fruit based or meat based) or dog or cat food, moistened...probably even small chunks of ground, raw meat. What do you have available to you?

good luck!!