Flightless Chaffinch

The birds around here seem to have more than their fair share of problems. We now have a young Chaffinch feeding which cannot fly. I caught it yesterday to see if it was injured, and discovered that the primary feathers are missing from the central part of each wing. Otherwise it is a very healthy little chap; he gave me a good nip and wriggled free, then managed to squeeze through the (small mesh!) rabbit fencing into the woods. But today he is back, for the third day running. Since the missing feathers are symmetrical and there are no other signs of injury, I think this is probably a “birth defect”. In which case we must have had a nest nearby. We were also visited by a large family this morning, so the parents may still be keeping an eye on little one.

A sparrow hawk will most likely get him soon, so it is tempting to catch him and try to keep him safe. But then what life is it for a wild bird, being in captivity?

Comments

22 Jul, 2010
P1150022_1
jane said:

Hi Wooodlyme...This is a difficult one.Knew a lady once who used to try to re-habilitate injured/deformed or abandoned baby birds...with a view to eventually releasing them.

In this case as you say the parents are trying to look out for the young chaffinch...so most kindest thing is probably let nature take its course. Regarding the sparrowhawk....last year a baby goldfinch was drinking at dusk...alone on our pond.Out of nowhere in swooped the sparrowhawk..and carried it off.They instinctively know and spot the vulnerable dont they !

On a lighter note...glad you have hd the chaffinches nesting nearby......and that they are feeding in your garden.Would be interested to hear how this one fares......

22 Jul, 2010
015
aster said:

Unfortunately that's natural selection,if you cared for it and let it go later it would probably be too trusting of everything and still be attacked.
The parents will know when to abandon a chick which isn't thriving.
Hopefully he will learn where to stay safe and already knows there is plenty of food with you.I don't think you can do more :)

22 Jul, 2010
P1220732
bonkersbon said:

Jane and Aster have said it all really even fit healthy birds are not entirely safe.

Think you answered your own question in the last sentence.

26 Jul, 2010
Ostrich
woodlyme said:

Quick update; he is still with us, and can now manage to fly short distances!

26 Jul, 2010
P1150022_1
jane said:

Well that is brilliant news Woodlyme...sure you will be glad you left him now ! Thanks for the update......

Leave a comment

You need to be logged in to comment


Liked by

  • Bird watching with friends since
    14 May, 2010

  • Bird watching with friends since
    14 May, 2010