House Martin and
Young. Both were found on the ground underneath their nests on the same
day in very hot weather.
As both nests were too high to try and repace the chicks, they were
to a rescue centre where they were put together for company
and reared by hand.
(on left) and martin *
* Martins have white feathery legs and pink feet, swallows have dark legs and feet.
The chicks were examined and checked for broken bones, bruising and
injuries. Luckily, neither was injured and the body temperature was
normal. (slightly warm to the touch) 2 drops of
AIL (homoeopathic liquid remedy Aconite/Ignatia/Ledum 200) was added to
4 mls of tepid Critical
Care solution to rehydrate them and help alleviate the stress of falling from their nests. 1ml was
given to each bird, directly into the crop via a small syringe
fitted with a
2" length of very fine, flexible tubing and the birds were then left to
in a warm, dark cage for about an hour to aid recovery.
After their rest, a chopped maggot was dipped in Critical Care solution
and offered on long, fine tweezers to keep contact with people to a
Both birds refused to gape (open their beaks) at first so the maggot
gently along the edge of the beak, from the hinge along to the tip.
some of the juice to seep into the mouth, stimulating the appetite.
After a few wipes, the chicks both opened their beaks willingly and
took the food.
Another 3 chopped maggots were offered with 1-2 minute intervals to
the birds time to digest, then they were left to rest in a darkened cage for another
As the birds had come from very small, fairly enclosed nest
spaces, a small
substitute nest (6" x 4"x 1" high) was made from a cut down cardboard box.
This was lined with a towelling face cloth covered with soft facial tissues and placed
inside a small ventilated cardboard box standing on a low level heat pad.
The nest was kept fairly dark between feeds, to allow the birds peace
to sleep and grow.
Food was offered in the long tweezers every hour between 8am and 8pm.
A tiny pinch each of Avipro and Nutrobal was added to the first feed of
the day and the amount of food offered increased gradually.
After a couple of days some chopped cricket and insectivorous bird food was added to the
chopped maggots to add bulk.
If the mix was too dry, a drop of water was added to provide
moisture. As they grew, the chicks were able to eat headless mealworms
and wax moth larvaeand were given daily supplements of calcium, ACE and SA37. plus a weekly dose of B complex.
Once the adult feathers developed, the Martins were moved into a budgie
cage partly covered with a dark cloth.
This allowed the birds to move about and climb the bars to exercise the
wings. Some thin twigs were fastened across the corners of
the cage to provide perches and a tea towel fastened under the covered
end to provide a sleeping platform.
A small pot of insectivorous food was put in the cage and a few live
maggots placed on top to attract the birds.
Small pots of drinking water were hung on the bars near the sleeping
platform and the food.
When the birds are ready for release, they should be alowed to escape
from the cage and have some flying practice so their readiness can be
They should not be released as soon as they can fly. Ensure they are
helping themselves to some food and keep them for about a week, with daily
flying practice to strengthen their wings and improve flying skills.
Ideally, they should be released in good weather near where they were
found, to rejoin their family. Failing this, take them to a local
martin nest site.
Take the birds from the carrier and hold up in the air to let them
orientate themselves, then simply open your hand and let them fly away.
Young, feathered but unable to fly. Found on the ground on a very hot
July afternoon flapping its wings and staggering along the pavement.
The chick was examined and found to be undamaged but hot and stressed.
The weight was noted and it was given 1ml of rehydrating fluid with 2
drops of Homoeopathic Aconite 30 by a tube directly into
the crop then left to rest in a cool, dark box for 1 hour.
A small shallow nest about 6" by 4" by 2" was made from a cut down
cardboard box. It was lined with newspaper and kitchen roll and
placed in a ventilated cardboard box on a heat pad. The Swift
could not be reared in the same cage as Martins and Swallows as even
baby swifts are almost twice their size and a lively swift could easly
damage the smaller birds by sitting on them.
Swift Mix was given by a syringe and thin tube five times a day between
7am and 8pm at first. Early feeds were about 1ml - 2ml. and as the
grew they were gradually increased to 3ml and 4 ml. A pinch each
of Nutrobal and Avipro were added to the first feed of each day to
bird had enough vitamins and minerals and the weight was regularly
recorded to check on progress.
The fluffy juvenile feathers were gradually replaced by smooth, adult
flight feathers and the bird gained weight steadily.
When it began trying to climb the walls of the box, it was transferred
to a budgie cage modified to suit its habits.
A tea towel was folded in half and secured to hang across the width of
the cage to make a shallow hammock and a piece of vetbed made a warm
surface that was easy to clean. Two more tea cloths were tied to the
top of the cage so they hung down inside to provide
shade and a climbing/hanging surface.
The base of the cage was lined with folded paper and covered with
kitchen roll to make cleaning easy.
As it reached maturity, the
swift would hang on the bars of the
cage and flap its wings. It also flapped wildly when being fed and was
to make some test flights indoors to strengthen the wings (a luxury
wild swifts don't have, as they have to fly from the nest and stay
On a warm, breezy morning with no storms forecast the swift was taken
to an open space where swifts had been seen overhead,
about 2 hours after a morning feed. 2 helpers came along as
catchers just in case the bird wasn't quite ready but the bird was raised up
with a smooth, upward lift and at the top of the arc,
it fluttered its wings rapidly, left the hand, gained height and circled up and up on
thermals. Another swift soon joined it and they were soon lost to sight.
If the swift had not been quite ready for release, it would not
have taken off from the hand and gained
height so would have been picked up several yards away by the
is important to release them in a mown area so their landing site is
easy to see. If they land near bushes, trees or buildings they will climb them to gain height and try to launch themselves again, even if they are not quite ready to fly.
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