Friday, August 1, 2008

Introducing Cheeper

A new honorary Blackhead has joined our family, at least for a little while. Yesterday, the HVAC guy came back to install a few parts and while I was waiting for him to finish I looked out the porch door and saw the saddest little sight. The night before, two of the baby barn swallows had fallen out of their nest and died. The last chick in the nest was huddling against the wall of the house on the ground, but he was alive!

I had to act, but what to do? I got the HVAC guy out of the house as fast as I could when he was done, called Mom for a consult. Since I don't have a phone book at the new place or internet, I didn't know how to reach animal rescue. She gave several phone numbers. Long story short, I finally got a hold of someone. They told me to try and put the chick back in the nest if I could reach it. If I couldn't, then I should construct a new nest using a plastic (not cardboard) box near the original nest. Next step, watch (for a very very long time) to see if the parents are still interested in the chick. This all happened at 11:30AM. By 8:00PM, I had two confirmed feedings and numerous surveillance fly-bys.

Since I didn't have a plastic box at the new house, I had to call my neighbor. She brought over a sterilite plastic bin, gloves, and some garden tools to move the chick. I told her she could take back everything but the bin. She looked surprised and said how would I move the chick. Well with my hands of course.

Let me dispell this myth now. Handling chicks does not cause their parents to abandon them. Making a nest for the chick with a spring green plastic bin, a few twigs, bright yellow paper grass, and light blue rag, is perfectly acceptable to barn swallows.

When Master Blackhead met me at the house, I had to show him the new Tiny Blackhead, now dubbed Cheeper. When I peaked into the basket, Cheeper didn't seemed scared of me at all. When Master Blackhead took a look... it was a different story. I told him, that Cheeper knew I wouldn't hurt him.

This morning, I went and checked in on Cheeper. The second he saw me he started cheeping and opening his mouth for food. Oh that made me laugh. His parents even seemed OK that I was looking in on their chick, but the second I tried to reach in to adjust a twig they started swooping. I left the twig.

I'll have to get a picture of the new nest for all of you to see. I think it is quite chic. haha

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