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Trouble and Wingnut
Five years ago, my kids were playing in our front yard with some of their friends when they found a baby bird in the grass. It had just hatched recently because it had next to no feathers on it. There was no ... click to read moreFive years ago, my kids were playing in our front yard with some of their friends when they found a baby bird in the grass. It had just hatched recently because it had next to no feathers on it. There was no mother bird around so they brought the little one in and put it in an old bird cage we had with some dry grass and newspaper. The next day we found another baby bird in the driveway dead and could only assume that the mother had been killed somehow.
We all took turns feeding the baby bird around the clock with worms the kids went out and got every night. It soon became apparent as the feathers grew in that the baby bird was a female robin and I named her Wingnut. As she grew and started to fly we let her out of the cage to get her used to flying so we could let her go.
She decided our old cat Trouble was her best friend and Trouble seemed to decide that since the bird was in the house she was not lunch - even though the cat would go outside and catch birds. Wingnut is afraid of other cats and strange dogs and would only associate with Trouble and our three dogs. She's a little leery of our hamster and tries to catch the fish through the glass in the aquariums. Trouble would on occasion cuff Wingnut much as she would a kitten when she's pulled the cats fur or otherwise annoyed her.
When we tried to let her go, she refused to leave. She would fly back to the door and back in the house and find the old cat to protect her. After several attempts at releasing her we realized that she wasn't going anywhere.
Wingnut ate worms and berries that we got for her until she discovered dry dog food and dry cat food. Occasionally she will still eat berries and although she will play with a worm, she won't eat it. She likes a lot of people food. She will help herself to whatever anyone is eating and if she likes it, she'll come back for more. If Wingnut sees somebody putting something in their mouth she's right there on their shoulder to see what they have. Her favourites are spaghetti (but only with sauce), turkey (the kids call her a cannibal), weiners and bread soaked in milk. She loves gummy bears and chocolate. She likes yogurt but can't figure out whether she should eat it or drink it. I went to the Dollarama and bought some little coloured ashtrays for her food dishes and she recognizes them as hers now. Every day she gets a little bowl of cereal, either vanilla Rice Krispies or Mini Wheats in milk. She likes apple juice, coffee, tea and pop.
For awhile we put her in her cage at night but it was getting more and more difficult to catch her because she knew she was going in that cage and she hated it. My daughter had a shelf in her bedroom with some stuffed animals on it and that is where Wingnut decided she was going to sleep at night, on this shelf on top of the stuffed animals. Although the kids have switched rooms since then and my son now has that room, Wingnut still sleeps on that shelf. She hasn't been in the cage since she was about three months old.
She has a dish of water in the bathroom for her baths but frequently has a bath in the bowl of dog's drinking water because it's bigger and she can splash more water around. Anyone who has ever seen a robin outside taking a bath in a puddle will know how much the water flies.
She doesn't like to be held. She will ride on a shoulder, a head or an arm as long as the hand doesn't cover her back. She'll lay down and have a nap on a knee. She flies occasionally but more often she runs around the floor. We have learned to watch where we're walking because if you get too close to her she'll attack your feet and her little beak is sharp. The dogs don't bother her. They will sit back and wait if she's eating out of their food bowl and they avoid the water dish if she's having a bath. She sometimes catches a ride on our black Lab's back and will lay down beside one of them, tuck her head under her wing and have a nap. She has naps periodically throughout the day, laying down with her feet tucked under her and her head under her wing wherever she happens to be at the time, whether it's on the computer keyboard, on the floor with a dog or in a chair with Trouble.
Three years ago my son made an outdoor cage for her out of quarter inch wire mesh. Part of it fits in the window much like an air conditioner would and the rest sits on the window ledge outside. It's about four feet long, (the width of the window), 18 inches high and sticks outside about two feet. In the summer we open the window and Wingnut and Trouble would sit out in this cage. She likes sunning herself, lying half on her side with her feathers all fluffed out. Wingnut seems to feel comfortable that she can go outside but still be safe from the outside world. If she sees a crow or other large bird she'll come flying back in. I'm assuming instinct tells her these are predators to her. A friend said it was ironic that she is afraid of these birds and recognizes them as a danger to her although she's never had any experience with them, yet the one animal that should be a natural predator to her was her best friend.
She is afraid of people she doesn't know. When my youngest daughter had to start wearing glasses Wingnut wouldn't come near her. It took her over a week to realize that this person was not a stranger. Wingnut is quite the character. She sings along with the radio, when I have the vaccuum cleaner going and when the water is running in the sink.
Statistics say that a robin in the wild has a life span of about 14 years. Wingnut is five years old. Her best friend Trouble passed away in February at the age of 18 years and Wingnut misses her. Quite often the bird will go around the house, going under the chairs and behind the couch, in the bedrooms like she's looking for something or someone. Wingnut has brought a lot of enjoyment into our home as have our other pets over the years and here's hoping she will be with us for a good many years to come. ... Hide full submission