Baby bird season is in full swing, and most of the admissions at the centre are young birds. Our staff is busier than ever.
Raising young birds, especially songbirds, is a lot of work. It requires frequent feedings to ensure a complete and balanced diet. Birds have an incredibly rapid growth compared to mammals. Robins, for example, fledge out of their nest at 14 days old and become independent at day 30. They reach adult size at approximately 20 to 30 days of age. (Compare that to 16-20 years for humans!) Even large birds like Canada geese take only two months to become adults.
Depending on the species, some birds may stay with their parents for a long time after attaining adult size. Robins are independent two weeks after leaving the nest, but some birds stay with their parents for a relatively longer period to learn hunting techniques. In other species, such as Canada geese or crows, the young can stay as much as a year or more with their parents.
While a fledgling’s growth rate is amazingly fast, it comes at a price. Health problems caused by nutritional deficiencies and improper feeding can develop quickly and put the growing bird’s survival in the wild in jeopardy. This is a main reason why growing birds should be raised by their parents, or if not, by a licensed wildlife rehabilitation centre.