Parents Feeding Chicks - clever birds

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Parents Feeding Chicks - clever birds

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I had a blackbird chick living on a big plant pot under cover of 2 maple trees. I put it out at 6am and took it in at 7pm. Mother was lame and father fed it lovingly and gently. It was obvious they really loved each other. First feed of the day was two feeds of bulky wet material in rapid succession. Then soft suet, dried meal worms, a wet bread sandwich with broken sunflower hearts and suet, tiny diced grape, all mixed up. Every 15 minutes from 6am till 7pm. Then a fat worm, didn't feed again for half an hour. Male approached by different routes and hid in bushes for five whole minutes with food in mouth till no other birds around. Hot weather, feeds every 30 minutes to one hour, many diced grapes for fluids. Cold mornings, cool weather, feeds every 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 minutes. Food alternated all day long between wet and dry food. Bearing in mind he had 3 others to feed, what a memory! Chick knew he was in garden long before anybody else and never responded to a different blackbird. His call two quiet clicks, chick reply 2 cheeps. If no reply or chick asleep, he took food away for another chick. If danger, his call..one very low click. Chick flattened itself against the floor, didn't reply, silent. His call wanting chick to move, repeated clicks and waiting. Chick angry repeated calls if very hungry and anxious after half hour delay, giving her father what for like a little diva. His response, anxious and fretting, risked his life to fly to her quickly. One day, father flew off and whacked a nearby pigeon on its back with claws when in flight. Another time flew at an intruding starling using its beak like a lance. Father brought lame mother to see the chick for two mornings only and watched me put it out in morning. No problem. After feeds of all chicks, father did a little two line song to let lame mother know all chicks fed. Every half hour did a little 2 line song to let all family members know his whereabouts and reassure he was nearby. Chick anxious if he didn't sing, visibly relaxed if she heard his voice in neighbourhood. In the evening from 7 pm, male sang 2 long songs on rooftops or trees, and all chicks -starlings, sparrows, etc started grooming, left the rooftops and went to bed! Everybody knew how many chicks he had and where they were. All birds in neighbourhood communicated and looked out for each other. One day in evening he swore at me when I was mowing the lawn, but when I looked up at him and he saw me in my little glasses, he sang me a song. He died from exhaustion, and my chick was taken to a bird hospital. Lame mother has now died, her last leg finally collapsed but we have 2 families of surviving chicks very large, chestnut, well fed.
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  • Hi Goldie welcome to the community

    It certainly seems the birds look out for one another in my garden as they all dive for cover at the sound of an alarm call

    It's good to hear you have some chicks surviving.