Saturday, December 29, 2007

Lil Shirl - memories...

This is Lil Shirl, a baby northern flicker that we rescued from the beak of a crow a few years ago.

We had no way to get her back to her nest - a hole in a dead tree, 30 feet high. We nailed a box to the same tree and put her in it, hoping Mom & Dad would feed her. It didn't work. After a few hours of watching Mom and Dad fly in to feed her siblings, but ignore her, we brought her into our home.

I wasn't a licensed bird rehabber at the time (working on that now), but I do have a lot of experience hand feeding my own baby finches. And I do have an NC Wildlife permit to rehabilitate small mammals, so let's just pretend that she has fur instead of feathers, shall we?

She was easy to feed and grew like a weed. We cut down a couple of trees, brought them into our screen room, and she was right at home.

She would join us for dinner...

Hey, this stuff doesn't look half-bad!

A few weeks later, her siblings emerged from their nest and I decided it was time to set her free. Here she is, outside of the screen room, but not too anxious to go anywhere.

Finally she left my husband's sleeve, hopped to the ground, ate 100 ants in a matter of seconds and I knew she would be fine. We have lots of ants! She climbed a tree and flew away without a backward glance.

Oh, but she came back - again & again over the next month. She liked to hang out with us and she loved the mealworms that we fed her. She was a very sweet bird with very sharp claws!

Our screen room has a plexiglass roof. Here she is looking down through at us. Hey, where are my mealworms?


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

What an amazing experience you had! I can't believe she hopped onto your face- too funny! I bought the materials to become a rehabber a few years ago. Maybe I should look into them again...

Susan Gets Native said...

Lynne, you would be a ROCKIN' rehabber. Do it.

Susan, that flicker is TOO CUTE. So there's another wonderful flicker out there in the world thanks to you. That just ROCKS.

Susan said...

Lynne, I totally agree with Susan - who better than a caring nurse to be a rehabber.

Susan - thanks!

Mary said...

Susan, this story made my heart so warm. The photo of her having dinner at the table blew me away.

You're awesome!

dguzman said...

Wow that one photo is like a scene from The Birds!

What a great experience you had with Lil Shirl. That's so neat! And I think Lynne would make a great rehabber too!