by Janet Blue on May 10, 2013

Our Astrid was abandoned as a kitten. After being bottle fed for a couple of weeks, she was placed with Lisbeth’s mom, Tuxie, who graciously accepted Astrid has part of her litter. We all know about this type of surrogacy, and we’ve all read about cross-species mothering.

That birds will feed another’s offspring, however, was news to me. We have both a robin’s nest and a house finch’s nest in our carport. Not so long ago, baby birds appeared in each nest, and we have watched both the robins and the finches feed their broods. Until yesterday, that is, when mommy robin started feeding both sets of babies.

Mother robin feeding her three babies.

Robin feeding her three babies.

Mother robin feeding finch babies.

Robin feeds house finch baby birds.

We continue to see the finch parents at our feeder, but they seem to have abandoned their babies.

And in other birdy news: Yesterday Mauricio brought me the gift of a baby bird. After I retrieved it from the kitchen floor (expecting it to be dead), inspected it and determined that it had no injuries, Tom called the local wildlife rescue.

They told us to put the infant bird under a bush near the two nests as, at the time, we thought it was one of the baby finches. They explained that it’s mother was probably teaching it how to find food and that the baby would call to it’s mother to let her know where to find it. They said to leave  it for about an hour to see if the mother bird came to retrieve it. Though all of our kitties were in the house or on their screened deck, we told the rescue organization that cats live in the neighborhood. We were advised to watch the bird, which I did while sitting on the front porch and writing comments on my favorite blogs. I don’t think it ever called out, and so there it sat an hour later.

At that point the plan was to take it to a nearby wild bird sanctuary. We noticed, however, lots of bird activity in our side yard. So instead of the sanctuary, Tom placed the itty-bitty birdy under a bush in that vicinity. An hour later, the bird was no longer there. We pray it was found by its mommy. We know none of our kitties found it!


Sherri-Ellen T-D. May 14, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Yow dat iz lubly dat Momma Robin iz feedin da baby finchez!!!
As fer da baby birdie me n Mum hopez it waz found by itz Momma n all were reuntied!!!
Nylablue n Sherri-Ellen.

Timmy Tomcat May 12, 2013 at 7:52 am

That is very interesting. I just hope the Robin keeps up the chores until the finches can fly away. Purrs

Penelope May 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm

I leaned something today! I have been worried that Kozmo will bring me gifts of live baby birds this spring and now I know what to do!
Nellie (and Kozmo’s) Mom

Bernadette May 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Success! It’s hard to have faith, isn’t it? And our first initiative is to help the bird as we would want to be helped. But the bird is…a bird. I’m sure the bird found its way somewhere.

Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey May 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

What an incredible post. Animals truly are amazing. Thank you for sharing and I hope the little bird is okay…

Ellie May 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Such a sweet post!

Sam and Pam May 11, 2013 at 6:04 am

Had no idea that birds would “take over” and fill in as parents if other birds stopped feeding their young but it’s sweet isn’t it?!

Pam (and Sam)

Spitty the Kitty May 11, 2013 at 1:49 am

I think that Robin Mommy should get extra worms or something for Mother’s Day 😉

Katnip Lounge May 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Fingers crossed the baby birdy is safe! The cats have other thoughts on the matter…

Sometimes, Cats Herd You May 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm

That’s very interesting. We never heard of birds doing that, either. We hope the robin keeps it up, if the finches have abandoned their young.

LP May 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm

We think the finch parents might be party animals…um, party birdies! Interesting though when you see that type of seemingly parental irresponsibility even in nature!
Hooray for the Mama Robin 🙂

the critters in the cottage xo

Abby May 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Very interesting about the baby birdies!

Brian May 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm

That is so cool, I didn’t know birdies did that either!

Ellie Van Caster May 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm

What fantastic pictures-I heard that about birds but have never witnessed it. I guess that a Mom is a Mom can be true for everyone. 😉

McGuffy Ann @ McGuffy's Reader May 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Wow. I have heard of this, though it is unusual. I love how nature often takes care of itself, in unexpected ways. ~xo~

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