Sunday, August 15, 2010

The (mis)adventures of Peepers the great-tailed grackle

I've had a little project over the last month.  We fostered a baby grackle, raising her until she was strong enough to be out on her own.  It was a lot of fun, and we just released her yesterday.




So. last month my friend tells me they found a baby bird in their backyard.  They'd found her before she could die under the hot sun (it was like 115 F at the time).  Baby was actually eating, and reacted quickly to being fed by people.

Peepers July 13th
I went up the next day, and the parents knew where their little one was, and were trying to get back to her.  But they were scared of the dogs, and scared of the cage, and scared of people, and weren't coming up to feed baby, even though they wanted to.

So I brought her home, and the old man and I spent the next month fostering little baby Peepers.  Grackles are adorable, awesome birds, and to have a sweet little peep monster around was great.  I did find out that grackles aren't actually corvids, though they act a lot like them.  She ate well, and a LOT.

Because I was working, my fiance did most of the feeding and raising.  He ended up being Peepers little mommy.

Peepers after 10 days with us
She grew fast, because she was eating mostly egg, and some cat food.  She learned to bathe herself, and had fun running around.  For the last week and a half, she's basically been loose in our spare room, flying and exploring and starting to take care of herself.

Yesterday, we took her to the big park in the city.  Has a huge grackle population, a duck pond, and people constantly feeding the birds.  No cats, lots of space, and a good place to be a bird.

She was scared as hell at first, and panicked.  She even forgot we were her foster parents for a moment.  Once she calmed down, she came right back to us.  Kept getting on us and hiding, though she was intrigued by the others of her own kind.  Peepers hadn't really seen another bird in a month.

After some time, Peepers started relaxing, started exploring.  She went and talked to the others, and she liked it.  She was nervous but happy.  She finally flew a distance away, and was walking with other grackles.  We started slipping away then, and just kept moving father and farther.  She watched us, but she stayed where she was, and finally started playing with the grackles.

Bai Bai Peepers
It was a little hard to let her go, but very much the right thing to do.  Peepers was fun to have around, but we couldn't teach her everything she needed to know.  She'll learn how to roost, and how to really scrounge, and it will be good.  But I miss her.

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