Volunteers wanted to help raise orphaned baby birds - who demand feeding every 15 minutes

Do you have what it takes to play ‘mama hen’ to orphaned baby birds who demand feeding every 15 minutes, 12 hours a day, for up to four weeks?

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 12:30 pm

A South Shore wildlife sanctuary is appealing for kind-hearted people to take on the task of hand-rearing the dozens of chicks it expects to see coming in throughout the summer months.

Sparrows, starlings, dunnocks, robins, and bigger birds like pigeons, seagulls, crows and magpies, are all in need of temporary homes with plenty of mealworms to help them grow up big and strong.

And unfortunately, the Brambles Wildlife Rescue does not have the resources to look after them all.

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Could you meet the demands of a hungry hatchling?

READ: Unfairly maligned pigeons get top-quality treatment in hand-knitted nests at South Shore wildlife rescueRescue founder Mel Greenhalgh said: “Depending on the bird, most of them need feeding 12 hours a day, for example from 8am until 8pm, every 15 minutes through to every hour depending on how old they are.

“This can be for three or four weeks until they are ready to go. It’s quite a commitment.

“We start them off on mincemeat mixed with egg, and hand-feeding formula, and once they get bigger we introduce them to mealworms. We never give them water until they are self-feeding, because it can go down their windpipe and suffocate them. It happens all the time with well-meaning members of the public. They see a baby bird and they give it some water, when in fact that’s the worst thing you can do.”

Each chick requires a cage, a heatpad, a quiet home away from young children and pets, daily cleaning, and a supply of good food. Mel said: “It’s quite draining when we have got so many. Everywhere you turn, you’re putting food in another mouth.

“I think the difficulty of the job is outweighed by new life, and seeing them fly off into the trees. It’s very rewarding, but it’s hard graft. It’s a great responsibility, there’s no doubt about that.”

Anyone who wants to help out the charity and give hand-rearing a try should contact Mel on the Brambles Wildlife Rescue Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/BramblesWildlifeRescue. They will be contacted by a volunteer who will provide detailed instructions and advice.