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An essay by Elizabeth Brightwen

Rearing Birds from the Nest

Title:     Rearing Birds from the Nest
Author: Elizabeth Brightwen [More Titles by Brightwen]

The most delightful of all pets are the birds one has taken the pains to rear from the nest; they never miss the freedom of outdoor life, they hardly know what fear is, they become devotedly attached to the one who feeds and educates them, and all their winsome ways seem developed by the love and care which is given to them.

I strongly deprecate a whole nest being taken; one would not willingly give the happy little parent birds the distress of finding an empty home. After all their trouble in building, laying, sitting, and hatching, surely they deserve the reward of bringing up their little babes.

Too often when boys thus take a nest they simply let the young birds starve to death from ignorance as to their proper food and not rising early enough to feed them.

It is a different matter if, out of a family of six, one takes two to bring up by hand--the labour of the old birds is lightened, and four fledglings will sufficiently reward their toil.

The birds should be taken before they are really feathered, just when the young quills begin to show, as at that stage they will not notice the change in their diet and manner of feeding. They need to be carefully protected from cold, kept at first in a covered basket in flannel, and if the weather is cold they should be near a fire, as they miss the warmth of the mother bird, especially at night.

I confess it involves a good deal of trouble to undertake the care of these helpless little creatures. They should be fed every half-hour, from four in the morning until late in the evening, and that for many weeks until they are able to feed themselves.

The kind of food varies according to the bird we desire to bring up, and it requires care to make sure that it is not too dry or too moist, and that it has not become sour, or it will soon prove fatal, for young birds have not the sense of older ones--they take blindly whatever is given them.

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Elizabeth Brightwen's Nature Essay: Rearing Birds from the Nest