March 15, 2006 [LINK]

Beware the Ides of March (II)

Yesterday, coincidentally, a friend brought to us a bird he thought was injured, figuring we would know how to take care of it. It turned out to be a fledgling Mockingbird that was probably blown out of its nest by the high winds we've been having for the past couple days. The gray plumage, white wing bars, and yellow eyes were unmistakeable. It wasn't much bigger than a sparrow, and didn't even have a tail yet. (CAUTION: If you ever see a small bird flapping around on the ground, think twice before you try to rescue it. Most young birds spend a day or two on the ground before they can fly, and their parents protect them and feed them during this time.) If it didn't improve, I was planning to take the Mockingbird to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, which specializes in animal rescue and rehabilitation, the next morning. We tried to feed it and give it water, but unfortunately, it went through cycles of lethargy followed by convulsions, and died last night. What is it about mid-March?

Yesterday Jacqueline and I went for a brisk walk behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad, but few birds were in view because of the strong winds. I did spot one bird that I hadn't seen recently, however: a Yellow-rumped warbler.