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driph's Avatar
driph driph is offline
Posted 24th April 2015, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Country: United States
Location: Las Vegas, Nv
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Mockingbird rescue - strange nodding behavior


Hi all! I received a young mockingbird yesterday that is exhibiting an odd nodding behavior that I haven't seen before:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz8vj6FnUVc

Additionally, every now and then he'll sneeze 4-5 times in succession, and he sleeps a lot more than other young birds. He isn't readily gaping or accepting food, so I've been feeding him the soaked variation of my starling's (cat) food.

Pooing normal, he was a bit dehydrated last night, stools are now on the looser side but otherwise healthy baby bird poop.

Otherwise, he's inquisitive, mostly alert, and feisty when it comes to opening up his beak.

His breathing sounds pretty normal, but as I have no way to get ahold of the people that originally found him I don't know if they tried to give him water or anything that might have aspirated the little guy.

Any ideas what this is?
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CBL's Avatar
CBL CBL is offline
Posted 24th April 2015, 08:13 PM
Join Date: May 2014
Country: Canada
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No clue but if sneezing and not well, a general antibiotic will help.
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feathers111 feathers111 is offline
Posted 26th April 2015, 07:19 PM
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Can you get him to a wildlife rehabber?
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cwebster cwebster is offline
Posted 26th April 2015, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Country: United States
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 6,288
He is darling. Please take good care of him! We have so far rescued and released a baby crow, a scrub jay, and a woodpecker. Two had been attacked by birds and one was knocked out probably by a car. Your little guy looks healthy. He doesn't look ill, just hungry. He looks alert. He is a fledgling so he may need care until he is older if you don't know where his parents are. What are you feeding him? We fed a variety of foods to the fledglings we released including berries, fruit, seed, moistened dry cat food, small crickets, worms cut into pieces, tomato, kale, nuts, carrot, etc. you have to mince the stuff and put it in their beak gently. We fed the crow and jay for weeks until they could fly and released them near their parents, after teaching the crow to flap and fly. The woodpecker regained consciousness after an hour and when he came to, we took him to where we found him and he flew up to where mom and dad were waiting on a tall telephone pole. We still see the little guys around the neighborhood. i do not know what mockingbirds eat. If you research this on the net there should be info about their diet. I would guess insects and fruit. You can get small crickets and worms from a pet store or worms from a bait or sporting goods store. Fledglings grow very fast. You will find that helping the little guy is fun and rewarding. Please keep us posted.

Last edited by cwebster; 26th April 2015 at 08:07 PM..
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driph driph is offline
Posted 26th April 2015, 09:24 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Country: United States
Location: Las Vegas, Nv
Posts: 38
Hey all, an update so far...

Consensus over on StarlingTalk is that he's probably malnourished and showing symptoms, mockingbirds are apparently susceptible to calcium deficiency. He's still trucking, slowly becoming more active each day, but he still does the nodding behavior and refuses to gape (I don't look much like a mockingbird I guess). I am surprised that he hasn't yet picked up that I'm the food source, other rehabs in the past have tended to start begging after a feeding session or two.

I've currently got him on a high protein kitten food with added calcium. From what I've read, mockingbird diets are primarily insects and plant matter (fruits and whatnot as they can get them). I wish mockingbirds had a crop like a pigeon, having a fullness meter on a baby is really handy!

cwebster, it's the season!

I've also got an old street pigeon that was attacked and listless, but his wounds are healing up well and he's made it halfway through a course of baytril so far, so I'm feeling positive about his outcome. :]
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cwebster cwebster is offline
Posted 27th April 2015, 08:07 AM
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Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 6,288
Chris, yes, it's the season. Thanks for helping the two birds. It is really kind of you.
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