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Feeding a baby Sparrow?
Advice needed.

 1:24 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

My son and his friends found an orphaned bird in the park.

No nest in sight and with that many kids around, all screaming and being so excited about discovering such a small creature, leaving it there to hope for the adult birds to care for it just isn't an option.

It has complete plumage and tries to fly/hop. It is small, about 2 1/4 inches long. It doesn't seem injured in any way. It's sleeping now (I hope it's sleeping) in a small cloth-lined Kleenex box my wife put together.

My wife and I have been trying to feed it a sugar/water mixture with bread, with no success. I suggested letting it calm down and waiting.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.



 1:42 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi snowman,

What you need is a popsicle stick, and dry kitten or puppy food.

Young sparrows are fed with high protein insects. Sculp the popsicle stick to make it narrower to about 1/8 of an inch at it's point. Damp the food in water and let it absorb all the water it can.

The birdie will wake up and go to sleep with light cycle.

Grab about half a gram of protein putty on the stick and approach his face making slow small circular motions wile wistling as a mommy sparrow.

He will open his beak and you just shove it down the tube. He will do the rest. Repeat twice.

He will need this about every hour during day time. I hope someone is home for him during the day.

How is his belly and does it's anus looks 'normal'?

<added> Keep the blinds down in the room where he is kept.

In a week or so, he will fly good enough so you can set him free.

Will you call him snowbird?

[edited by: Macguru at 1:50 am (utc) on June 23, 2005]


 1:49 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Actually, you need an eye droper, and go to the pet store, they have special food for baby birds that have the protien etc inside of it.

You need to be careful when feeding that you don't rupture the back of their throat.

Hold the bird in your hand, so that you sort of have its head/beak, gently in between your fingers, and let it eat out of the dropper.

I have hand fed birds that I have now, this is how I know how to do this. I have a love bird that i got when she was 16 days old, and only down feathers on her.

You can sticky me if you have any questions, I have a few photos of when I fed the bird if that might help you out.

<edit> also if you have an aquarium, or can borrow one, place shavings such as pine, etc within the aquarium, place a lid on it so that the bird doesn't fly out and get harmed, and place a heating pad on low, underneath of the aquarium. Place a towel on top so that it doesn't get too hot for the bird even on low, it can.</edit>


 2:02 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Interesting 4css,

What is the purpose of holding the bird in your hands while feeding him?

Most birdies I hand fed knew what to do as soon the popsicle stick approached their beaks. ;)


 2:09 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)


Sorry I wouldn't know what looks "normal" on a bird. I have no experience.

It was active when the kids in the park found it. It seemed to be trying to get away.

When I walked home with it, I kept my hands cupped around it to protect it from excessive light and wind, leaving just a little gap. It was moving a bit but seemed calm.

What is meant by "light cycle"? Does this mean the bird will sleep lightly, like a human infant?


 2:28 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry for the misunderstanding snowman. Another language blooper of mine?

The birds sleep when it's dark an wake up at first light. If you want him to sleep, it needs to be kept in the dark. The light acts like some ON/OFF switch on them.

You can 'cheat' with artificial light cycles if you wish, according to your availability to care for it. Try to keep the cycles over 6 hours.

Your snowbird sounds healty. If you see some droppings a few hours after it is fed, everyting sounds all right. If not, look at his anus to see if it is red and swollen. (sticky me if it's the case)

You can keep it in some open cardboard box for his own safety.

He feels like trying his wings for now. Keep it in some large closed room with the shades down so he doesn't hurt mimself on the window panes.

[edited by: Macguru at 2:32 am (utc) on June 23, 2005]


 2:31 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)


I put a little cup (the kind you get with Pepto Bismol) of room temperature water next to the bird (in the box) and tried with my finger to moisten the closed beak.

About 2 hours ago the bird's eyes closed and we assumed it fell asleep. I was unable to get any response from the bird when I tried to moisten it's beak.

I hope in the morning it will awaken!


 2:32 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Macguru, please post a picture of a normal-looking sparrow anus.


 2:48 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hey snowman,

Birdies take all the water input along with the food. (It's trowed up with the rest of the menu, thanks to the Chef)

At this age, they wont 'drink'. You need to mix water in the protein putty.

Sorry lawman, I have a picture handy, but we dont do politics here. :)

If the bird is sick (it does not sound that way) his belly will look bloated, his anus will be swollen and red and 'pout' out.


 2:55 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>Sorry lawman, I have a picture handy, but we dont do politics here.

Haha, that's too funny. Then I guess you couldn't post any pix of a horse's anus either. :)


 3:19 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

No, the bird looks as normal as a bird might I suppose. Nothing stands out as being distressed or ill.

I just came back from the local 24 hour store. I got some strained beef/broth baby food, some beef cat-food and a couple of suitable eye droppers.

Hopefully something out of this will appeal to the little critter! :)



 3:33 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dont forget to wistle as you feed the little one!

My father was 'the local bird man' when I was a child. He still breeds canaries.

I have good memories of caring for baby birds. The best ones was when we set them free.


 11:21 am on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Snowman - good luck with the little fella.

>>>Macguru, please post a picture of a normal-looking sparrow anus.

You know, I have to say, I thought I'd read it all...!


 3:36 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

We took him to an animal hospital/bird sanctuary this morning. They'll be better at looking after him. He's got a wonky right eye, it might be infected.

This morning he (?) started to accept water and food via an eye dropper! On the way to the sanctuary he "broke loose" for a few minutes from the hand-made nesting and ended up on the floor of the car!

I tried taking digital photos of him last night and this morning. Please excuse the lousy quality, it's a very cheap camera.



 3:39 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Could you flip him over and take another picture?


 4:01 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)


lawman, young bird constipation is very common. Causes can be intestine blockage, dehydration or some parasite induced by mosquito bite. This usually leads that the bird is just throw out of the nest to the cats.

Snowman, the wonky eye is probably due to manipulation or contact with the fabric of the improvised nest. You did the right thing taking him the the bird sanctuary, but polysporin would have done the trick.

It's pretty normal for young sparrows to spend a day or two hopping around on the ground before they learn to fly. The parents keep on caring for them for about a week during the process. I guess a lot of them dont make it throught in urban areas.


 5:42 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Boy, this thread is great. Its so nice to hear about you all taking the time to care for a baby bird. Ironically, a baby blue jay was left on the ground in my yard yesterday. I tried giving it water but it wouldn't drink. I had no clue what to feed it. It can only fly a few feet, I think it's wings are too small still.

I stayed with it for a long time talking to it and it seemed to soothe him. But good news. This morning the mama found him and she came down from the tree and fed the little guy! So do you think it'll be OK, then? It's so fluffy and cute!


 6:00 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi mona,

Yes it's all normal for baby birds to stay on the ground for a couple of days before they can really fly. Their parents are usually around to feed them and watch over them. The best thing to do is to leave them there (when they are not surrounded by curious kids in the park).


 4:00 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm glad that you cared enough to take the sparrow to people who knew what to do with it. I am sure that this little bird is really happy with you and your family. :)

Hi Macguru
Sorry so long to reply to your question.

Reason for holding the bird is that when you are raising one to hang onto, it helps the bonding process. They get used to you, and trust you better. You are replacing their mom, so some contact is necessary. And, lol, who can resist holding them when they are small? And it also helps to keep the bird from injuring itself when going after the food in the dropper.

I used to sit at the pc with my love bird when she was hand feeding. She would sleep in my hands all snuggled up to me. My cockateil was different, they are more aggressive when you are feeding them, they kind of lunge at the droper, so you need to be realy careful that you don't ruputre their throats when feeding them.

My love bird had only down feathers when I got her, and never fed from her mom. Out of the nest to my hands. I love it, its so cool to raise a baby bird.

And I spend tons of time watching the mom robins take care of their babies. Its neat to watch them hop about the yard while mom looks for the worms. And then its even neater to watch the baby learn how to look for the worms. They actually will tilt their heads to the ground like they are listening for the worms crawling about.

I have even tried to take in baby rabits after the mom leaves them for some reason. I found though, that with the baby rabits, its best to let them hop about the yard and figure things out for themselves. I have two out of three (one died, and we buried it) still going about their business in my back yard. (lol, sorry for the ramble, but animals touch my heart);)
This one [debsplace.org] is when tweety perched for the very first time.
And Here [debsplace.org] is where I had made a "bib" for her since she created a mess when I would feed her.
And This one [debsplace.org] though not very clear is how I would feed her once she got used to the dropper. You can see how my hands are around her head just in case she would start to lunge at the dropper. lol, you can see why I made the bib for her.

Mona My husbands Uncle Calls me St.Francis. And me not being catholic, did not know for a while who he was, nor what he was famous for ;)


 5:02 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I remember back in the mid 90s they used to have a farmer's market north of here.

We bought what we thought was a drawf rabbit then. He was very cute, nearly all white, he would crawl up your sleeve and lick your neck!

Well, that "drawf" rabbit was a baby rabbit that grew into a big rabbit, he remained very affectionate while we could keep him.

The baby came along and on the advice of our doctor we had to find a new home for the rabbit. We gave him to a lady whose children were begging for a tame, friendly rabbit pet.

It was a little rough giving him up.....they can be very affectionate pets and one can get a little attached.

Last we heard, the kids were still enjoying "Fluffy" and he was still a jolly bunny!


 5:30 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Baby Bluejay Update:

It think he's OK! He was hanging out in a bush all last night and I fed him a little and misted him with water (it was 95 degrees). Then this morning I woke up and there was another baby in the bush with him. So cute! I went out and took some pciture of them and then went inside. About 20 minutes later both were gone. So I'm thinking his brother or sister must have encouraged/shown 'er how to fly. I'll try and post pics later on.

Thanks again for the help.


 5:50 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Rabits in the house are difficult to take care of. I watched my sisters very LARGE rabits when she went on vacation once. Very messy to care for. They drank tons of water, so needless to say, there was a very large amount of puddles under their cages in the pan. gross!

Mona, lol, sounds like the baby bird is letting others know of the great care to be found in your yard! Maybe more out there waiting for misting and food tomorrow. ;) Anxious to see the photos that you took!


 12:23 am on Jul 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Last summer this robin [abandonedblog.com] took it upon itself to build a nest in a flower window box that is right next to the front entrance of my house.

Every time I would walk up the path to enter the house the bird would get pissed off and voice it's opinion by sqwaking at me, and I'm pretty sure she wasn't saying "welcome home."

Anyhow, my young daughter was adamant that I was not to disturb the robin and I was forced to enter the house via the garage for several weeks. Eventually, the robin deposited this [abandonedblog.com] into the nest, and as far as I know, promptly ate it.

Eventually, the rest of the clan [abandonedblog.com] arrived and once they all left the nest I was able to start using my front door again.

The bird is back this summer for a return engagement. 4 eggs again with 2 hatched so far without mama having a snack.

I'm using the front door. :)


 1:24 am on Jul 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>I'm using the front door.

Now that you can fly, your part of the family.

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