Doing the last minute grocery shopping Tom and I came across this lady in a wheelchair who was cheering on this other lady who seemed half inebriated, fussing over her lunch box. Curiosity got the better of me and I had to peek over. She was petting this nestling and trying to make it drink water. A big NO NO. The bird had obviously fallen out of its nest and had no business to be in a drunk lady’s lunch box… this called for immediate action on behalf of an “Ex- nestling stealer” AKA Moi. I am not proud of my ” bird-kidnapping” past but I learnt very valuable skills taking care of birds through trial and error…
I asked the ladies if I could care for the bird, take him home and contact the Brampton Animal rescue services. They were all too glad to let me have that half scared to death nestling. I ran back into the grocery store and got a cardboard box from one of the employees and took my little scared friend home. Soon after my call to the Brampton animal Services.. an agent showed up to remove the bird from my possession. On further questioning the fate of my friend , turns out that the Animal Rescue Society gives little to no priority to abandoned birds and their way of helping a scared nestling is to put it to sleep.
By this time my parents were over at home for dinner and saw all this drama unfold. Rescue services wanted to take the bird from me and I refused to hand it over knowing that he would be put to sleep. The conversation ended with me asking them to fine me for breaking the law that states that I can’t have a wild bird in my possession and that it would be a pleasure for me to contest it in the court of law. The agent left, and now starts the story of Einstein.
This amazing little fighter who had fluff over his head couldn’t be called by a better name.He was smart, very bold, very hungry, very noisy and very much determined to survive. I finger fed him some cooked chicken to sustain him till I could go to the shops and buy him some cat food. Birds in the wild eat a lot of insects and berries depending on the kind they are. This one was either a Robin or a songbird. High protein diet mixed with nuts and carbs is a good feed to keep them growing. The diet needs to be soft so the best thing to do is chew it in your mouth and make a paste of it and then if you have tiny fingers like mine, push it down its gullet or use the back of a plastic spoon/fork/knife and feed the bird when it voluntarily opens its mouth. Birds at the nestling stage are often hungry and will eat every 15-30 minutes… so it is a very important job you are undertaking and without full commitment on your part, they stand no chance of survival. Never give birdlings water. At that stage it is the worse thing you can be doing and never dilute food you are feeding them in milk as it just doesn’t suit their bodies. From nursing sick crows to common sparrow, baby robins, nightingales and plenty other species, names of which are not known to me- I felt quite qualified to undertake this task, however I needed help. My work schedule demanded me to leave for 4 days and I needed someone who could step up to the challenge. The only other person, the right person in this situation to depend on was my dad. I not only share his DNA but also his expertise on nurturing sick birds to health. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and turns out we had more in common than I knew… he was a bird- savior, a bit different than bird- kidnapper but we had the ” bird” in common.
Day 1 was spent in getting Einstein comfortable and warm with plenty of feed in his little belly. His make shift nest was the warm cut out leg of Tom’s track pants, a deep cozy depression in which Einstein felt safe and secure.
The cat feed was a hit with Einstein and he was on the road to gaining his strength and showing his true colours, literally speaking. Dad took over caring for him, he did a fantastic job keeping track of the time schedule I had so meticulously put together… the earliest feed started at 5:30 am and the last feed of the night was around 9:00 pm. Einstein ate every 45 mintues to an hour and gutted down 1/2 tea spoon of cat feed every-time. 4 days later when Einstein was returned back in my care, he was a little fledgling, standing up in the nest and curiously looking around and figuring out the humans around him. Dad made a fantastic little nest for him out of thermocol, in which he could stand up and shoot his business outside onto the laid out bounty sheets. We had a fine rhythm going. He would poop, then shout out to be fed… after feeding he would poop again and scuttle back into his nest. His fluff was growing and the wax was falling off and feathers were being exposed.
Einstein was turning into a fine little Starling. Noisy as ever, curious and bold. While I watered the plants outside he would hop around following me. I had to find him a home as with the flight schedule it was impossible that we carried on this shared custody of this feathered creature. He needed a place where he could interact with other birds and learn behavior true to his specie. I had tons of phone calls to make, so i got on the Ontario Wildlife Rescue Society and started calling all charities who took care of abandoned/ sick/injured birds. I got through to a lot but since these charities are run by volunteers, it is often not feasible for them to take on new responsibilities as they are lacking on resources. I was told unless it was an endangered or protected specie, I couldn’t be helped.
It was disappointing to know that after making it so far, and having that fighting spirit to make it though, that I wouldn’t be able to give Einstein the skills to fend for himself, which he would only be able to pick up and learn by watching other birds and by being in that environment. I needed to keep looking and finally found a place willing to take him in. Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary.
I spoke to a kind lady called Monika on the phone who informed me that they were located at a distance from where I was but, if I wasn’t able to find Einstein another home, that without discrimination they would take him in. This Wildlife Sanctuary was his new home, it was clear in my mind. Now all I had to do was get my little friend ready for his journey… we had a long way to go and that meant stopping on the side of the highway every 45 mins to give him food and making sure the car was adjusted at a comfortable temperature… not too hot/ cold. We were ready.
It took us around 3 hrs and 15 minutes to get to Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary. Here is the link to their website
This is the place to call. Rescue Societies don’t have the means of saving every animal/bird and their simple solution to a common animals is lethal injection. This is an unfair practice, a complete opposite of what they are put in place for. Every animal/ bird has the right to live, I say this in spite of being a meat eater but, when you as an individual get a chance in life to make a change, step up to it and accept the challenge. Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary is run by a kind lady who has made it her life mission to rehabilitate and reintroduce wild animals in their natural habitat. Charities as selfless as these need our help and they only work on donations and rely on volunteers. This place is the home to a selfless soul and her wild fowl.
Leaving Einstein in her care felt good, he felt safe and was put in with other baby birds, just where he belonged. I took a last picture of my little friend before I said good-bye, with this hope in my heart that soon within 3 weeks time he will be on his way to living his life in the wild.
I drove back home with a heavy heart, it wasn’t easy to give him up but it was the right thing to do. I could hear his loud chirping in my ears for a good part of the day. He had left an imprint on my heart. The following day I get an email from Monika which made me smile and gave me the reassurance that life is all about chances. Einstein has obviously fallen out of his nest- ended up in a woman’s lunch box- then in my home – finally making it over to woodlands wildlife sanctuary, a home fit for him. His mum and dad and other birdlings would never be able to guess what became of him, that he lives almost 260 kms away in the care of a kind woman along with other Starlings, soon enough getting ready to enjoy his life in the wild.
Email from Monika :