Beaver Pond Craziness, 08/15/20

I certainly had an interesting afternoon and evening at Beaver Pond on Pines Hills Road in Chester. I went to try for shorebirds of course, but when I arrived there was a bird on the wires that, as I pulled up I wasn’t sure what it was. I got out of my car, and the bird flew down and landed on my car door – it was a Cedar Waxwing fledging. It only stayed for a moment and then went and perched in a small tree.

~iPhone shot of Cedar Waxwing fledgling in hand at Beaver Pond, 08/15/20. All pics in this post were taken with my iPhone.~

So, I went about my business of searching for shorebirds, and it was fairly productive with 5 species of shorebird present: Lesser Yellowlegs (4), Solitary Sandpiper (3), Least Sandpiper (2), Semipalmated Sandpiper (1), and Killdeer (6). But then, the fledging Cedar Waxwing flew across the road and landed on my scope; I put my hand up and he hopped onto my hand. The bird was begging for food the entire time, mouth wide open, neck straining. I didn’t have any food, so I walked over to my car, CEWA in hand, and poured some water into my free hand. The bird drank from the water three times and then flew back to the tree across the road.

~Cedar Waxwing fledgling perched on my scope at Beaver Pond, 08/15/20.~

The next time the bird came down, it landed directly on my arm. I worked it to my hand and again gave it water to drink from my cupped hand. It drank, but clearly the bird wanted to eat, not drink, and it flew across the street again, this time perching in a lower bush.

I continued to scan for shorebirds, but I was preoccupied by the fledging calling and calling from across the street. I looked online quickly and it looked like the general consensus was to leave fledgling birds be, that their parents were likely nearby and it amounted to kidnapping rather than saving. But, I’d been at the pond for nearly 3 hours at that point, and there was no sign of any adult birds. I didn’t want to “kidnap” the bird, so I ran to the QuickCheck and bought what I’d just read was one of the foods you can feed young birds: wet cat food. I also grabbed a coffee stirrer to feed with.

~Cedar Waxwing fledgling at Beaver Pond, 08/15/20.~

When I returned, the fledging was still in the bush, calling, calling, calling. I walked across the road to the bush and the bird came out to me mouth wide open. At first it was unsure of the cat food, but eventually it ate 3 large mouthsful and then moved up and further into the bush. It was the first time since I’d arrived that the bird wasn’t calling.

I’m going to go back and check on the bird first thing in the morning. I’m not sure exactly what my plan is; I’m going to do some additional research this evening and see what my options might be. Hopefully the adult(s) will have returned and all is well, but we shall see.

18 thoughts on “Beaver Pond Craziness, 08/15/20”

  1. Very good shots for iphone! I haven’t seen good shots from my friends’ iphones! Awww, why was it hungry? It looked scrawny.

    1. Norma – the iPhone can take some great shots, if the light it good. I’m guessing the bird hadn’t eaten in some time, but it’s hard to be sure. Matt

    1. I do have cats, and I really hope that bird is happily with one of its parents by now because it can’t come home with me. Or at least not easily. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that. Matt

  2. What a great experience for you, Matt! I hope the little baby is Ok. Please let me know what happens when you return tomorrow. Pop

  3. The bird is so people-oriented that it may have been hand-raised and released a bit too soon.
    Hopefully, but not likely after three hours or more, it has parents. Giselle will have good advice.

    1. Hannah – you hit the nail on the head. I’ll be posting an update later today with more details. Thanks, Matt

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