A baby goldfinch and a baby Robyn

Into my 38th week of pregnancy and I was off work, resting, reading, cleaning; all those things you do in the last few weeks before all hell breaks loose. Each evening I would waddle the dog (I would waddle she would walk/run/swim) to meet Lee at work. On Monday I was heading that way following a rather cryptic text message, something about a baby goldfinch….

Arriving at BTO headquarters and I was greeted by Lee and a small plastic tub in which was said baby goldfinch. No more than 7 or 8 days old, feathers not fully grown and certainly not old enough to be out of the nest. The little chap and a sibling had been brought to the BTO by a concerned member of the public having found them on the ground. While a bird conservation charity the BTO is not a rescue charity. That said Lee is not the type to turn any animal away. While one of the little chicks was too ill, and died very shortly after, the other was healthier although hungry. Lee had contacted the local animal sanctuary who said they could if needed come and collect the little one either that evening or tomorrow. It would be a week or so before it would be ready to fledge, and in that moment, in my head I was thinking I still have a couple weeks before my own baby bird was due, I said ‘why don’t we take care of it!’

So we took him home (I say he but there is no way of knowing at this stage whether it is male or female) . We rang the animal sanctuary back and told them we would take care of the bird and for the next week we kept him in a small cage usually used to capture birds for ringing, and we fed him mushed up seeds, and some may say against better judgement we named him Carrot (as in 24 carat gold but it evolved into Carrot). By the end of the week he was hopping around the cage, twittering like crazy between periods of rest where he would bundle up and tuck his head under a wing. He would soon be ready, but we needed to make sure he could feed himself.

Carrot the goldfinch

It turns out my own little bird was rather impatient, and not willing to wait till her due date, or at one point to even wait to get to the hospital! That weekend Robyn Evelyn came into our world bottom first.

Even with the craziness that follows the birth of a baby, we kept an eye on Carrot. He was starting to feed by himself and would soon be ready to leave our nest. One evening and Carrot just like Robyn was impatient to get going; slipping between the small gap at the entrance to the cage and heading off into the big wide world without a backwards glance or stopping to say goodbye to his surrogate family. As they say that’s life, but that was not the end of the story. The next day and a little goldfinch appeared on our bird table. Carrot was back. He looked OK, a little hungry by the seems and ready for bed. He did not fly off when we approached and so we decided to bring him indoors for the night, just in case. A day later and he was again eagerly eating seed and once again ready for the off. Once again he beat us to it; nipping out of the cage and through an open window. This time when he did return to the garden he looked brighter and flew off when approached. Carrot had fledged and over the next couple of days we no longer saw him in the garden. As our own little Robyn bird starts out we can now only hope that Carrot has joined up with more of his kind and stays safe.

Robyn Evelyn the newest addition to the Wild Barley family

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