Thursday, October 15, 2009


September 2007

My sister was on the quad of her college campus and saw some students gathering around something and watching intently. As she got closer, she noticed the baby bird they were teasing hopping around and looking very scared. She got a box and loaded him up and brought him home. A nervous ball of fluff peered up when she opened the lid for us. We knew it wasn't one of the usual suspects for our area (like a robin, sparrow, or blue jay), so she took it up to the Schrader Center at Oglebay Park to have it checked out. They said he was a baby cedar waxwing, and his normal diet should be fruit, mostly wild grapes. He definitely couldn't fly enough to release, and their usual bird rehabber was out of town, so she brought him home and put him in a large cage with some wild grapes she'd picked from the vines at the park.

We had blueberries and grapes out for him, he walked over a small blueberry and squatted down on it like he was incubating an egg! Low quality because the only camera I had with me was my cell phone.

Back view, you can see how short his wing feathers were and why he couldn't fly yet.

He took that big chunk out of the grape already.

My sister and her little perching friend.

Sitting on a pinecone trying to avoid eating offered the dogwood berry. He was successful.

This is his Christmas card photo.

Getting a little bigger, mouth still dirty from all the grapes eaten earlier.

Click this picture to make it bigger... check out the detail inside his mouth. Very neat.

Squaaaak! I want more grapes!

She kept him for a couple weeks, eventually needing a bigger cage so he could practice using his wings. He would practice flying from branch to branch, getting steadier and better aim with each passing day. When she thought he was big enough and could fly and feed on his own, she took him back up to see the wildlife rehab people, and they agreed. There were several flocks of Cedar Waxwings that frequented the wooded area behind the Schrader Center, so that's where she released him. She desperately wanted to band him to be able to pick him out if she saw him, but the banding person was out of town, and Sparky was too big to keep in captivity anymore. Some birds weren't meant to be caged.

"Some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And
when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does
~The Shawshank Redemption


  1. Oh dear, what a cute little Waxwing! I'm glad he was able to get nice and strong and was able to be released. A success story! I love the Shawshank quote you included... One of my favorite movies, and I can easily hear in my mind Morgan Freeman speaking that line. Have a good weekend!

  2. Oh my goodness.....what a wonderful experience, and with a baby Cedar Waxwing no less!! Really fun post...