Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cathy's Rehab Update and the Chickadee Chick with Purpose

A young Hous back when he was newly arrived for fostor care in Astoria Park before the manifestaton of his case of frounce.

After hearing that Hous was holding his own, I wrote Cathy and Sadie a note thanking them for taking such good care of him and all the others that they care for as well!

I couldn't believe that not only was Hous alive, but he seemed to be managing to stay at least even. Whatever Cathy was putting in that smoothie was working. He looked so terribly ill the day he went into rehab, I thought he was a goner and I felt terrible about it. Holding your own with frounce is no easy feat, as we've seen this season.

Also when photographer and Hous hunter, Francois Portmann had sent me photos from the day Hous was rescued from the pool drain, there had been photos of an Urban Ranger with a nest and some naked nestlings. Then a photo of Cathy putting them into a teeny little carrier. With everything going on with Hous I'd forgotten to ask about the little guys, so that was another question that I had for Cathy in my email.

And today, I was delighted to open my box and see a note from her and little Sadie. And guess what? Good news!!!

Hey Donna,

Miss Sadie and I are doing great, thanks. We are keeping busy and somewhat out of trouble trying to cure our frounce patients. Everyone seems to be doing well.

Hous ate his first mouse all by himself two days ago. I can't even express in words how happy I was. I am so proud of him. He has had such a rough start in his young life, so many obstacles and he just keeps plugging away! He is stronger and his mouth is improving every day. I really didn’t think he would be alive when we got home, but he is no quitter! He is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at at night.

Hous 2, who we have named Hank, is almost cured. He barely has any signs of the canker at all. I am still treating him and he eats like a little piggy. Good thing I don’t have to fly around looking for his meals, my wings would fall off!! I feed him as much as he wants and when he hears me coming he does his little baby peeping.

As for the little naked babies from the park, they are growing like little wildflowers. They are sparrows. I have six of them, two from the park, one from our local pool, and three more from a fallen nest somewhere.

The new kestrels we have are also showing improvement. The little one with the canker on the outside is eating on his own now. The canker looks like it is starting to dry up, which is a very good sign. Time will tell. I hope that we will be releasing all my little babies really soon, and in one release my big boy Hous!!!

I thank everyone for all their well wishes and positive thoughts. Without every ones time and concern about Hous, he might have passed away alone, I couldn't have been able to deal with that very well. So thank you all again!

Hope all is well, Sadie and I are busy rescuing what ever we get a call for. She is a busy little rehabber!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk to you...
Cathy and Sadie


Originally all I wanted to do was to take a picture of whoever was making all the racket. I was weeding the very muddy garden and I kept hearing what sounded like a variation on the standard Chickadee call from somewhere near the ground. I kept looking and looking and finally in the rubarb I found this little guy.

Yes, he has his eyes closed but he was still calling both when they were open or closed. So I ran and got the tripod and managed one photo before he decided to hop off the rubarb, take a tumble and keep going. A kind of energizer chickadee. This chick must have been fresh off the nest because we're talking not capable of flight at all.

Now you may have noticed that Chickadees hop, they don't walk. Quite a common phenomena in the teeny birds. But this little guy was trying to hop through grass that was taller than he was. So each hop he'd flap his stubby little wings to try to get a little height in order to clear the next few grass blades. He was working his stubby tail off.

I was attempting to take his picture and I couldn't keep him in focus with all the hopping, disappearing into the grass, and then repeat. I needed the other camera that wasn't on the tripod. By the time I got back he was heading for the slope in the back that runs towards the walking path that
circles the park. Which was fine, except that when I looked there were two humongous sheepdogs with their master coming his way. Yes, the sheepdogs were on leads but I thought well, I'll just slow the chick down a little and they'll pass. So I got in front of him and stood a few feet away and waited. It works fine for fledgling hawks usually.

Well instead of turning aside, he just kept doing his tiny hop flaps until he just hop flapped onto my foot. He took stock for a moment and then hopped off.

Very strange. I just had Poecile atricapilla hanging out on my foot.

While I was momentarily distracted, off he went. And off he went in a direction which was bound to intersect him with the dogs.

I put my foot in front of him again just to see if last time was an aberration. Nope. He likes standing on feet. Then once again, hoppity hop off my foot and towards the dogs.

So I put my hand down and he hopped onto it.

He may have hopped on but he was still a bird with a mission and so kept on a coming up my arm. The dogs had stopped to snuff the area.
Okay, let's go back to the rhubarb where you were before, shall we? Besides I could hear an adult Chickadee calling from the tree over the rubarb. But very similar to a little wind up toy chickadee he would not be thwarted. Very strong minded these Chickadees.
Hop flap, hop flap, hop flap.
He stops in the clover patch and hides behind a blossom to scope out what? The upcoming open area? For what I don't know as I didn't scare him and apparently neither had the dogs arrival.

Then after a pause, hoppity hop, hoppity hop towards the paved path. He crosses, vocalizing very loudly. The chickadee adult who was in the tree over the rubarb takes off and lands in a little spruce a few feet to the far side of chicklette here. Chicklette disappears under the evergreen, good place for him. The adult heads for the sunflower seed feeder and then returns to the spruce.
Looks like the adults are going to have to follow Chicklette for a day or two until he gets it as he doesn't seem big on following them yet. Just screaming his little head off and hoppity hopping around like a mad thing.
Actually two seasons ago there was a fledgling Robin just off the nest like this. Instead of following the Dad around while he hunted like he should, he'd take off any old direction and the Dad would turn around, look vigorously, spot him and then go to him to stuff the worm into his gape. After a day or two the young Robin figured it out. I'm supposing that Chicklette here will do the same.
Donegal Browne


Anonymous said...

Hous is remarkable!


Eleanor, NYC said...

Marvelous news about Hous and the others. Brava to Cathy!

How great it is to get this kind of report!

Also -- I bet you enjoyed having that little chickadee on our foot!

Donegal Browne said...


Okay I'll admit it. It was marvelous to the little guy just standing on my foot. I could get such a close look at him. He weighed so little it was strange. I can see why they don't seem to worry all that much about the local hawks.

First they are so fast and zippy and second they wouldn't really make much more than dental floss for the hawks.

Yes, Cathy's update was absolutely lovely!