A Surprise Guest

Summer is so long-gone. We’ve already had our first snowfall here in Vermont, and many of the trees are completely bare of leaves. Pumpkins dot the doorsteps of homes throughout town, and many birds have high-tailed it south.

So what is this we have here? Who is this warm, pink blob with downy yellow feathers? Who is this peeping away, night and day? Certainly it cannot be a baby bird. Baby bird season has left with the summer.

But it is a baby bird! On October 22, the VINS Wildlife Services department received a baby rock dove. While typically their breeding season ends in August or September, there are exceptions. And this particular exception is quite exceptional!

This sweet baby bird was found alone in a nest during construction work on a bridge. One of the workers felt the young dove was in danger, with nightly temperatures now dipping into the low 30s. The baby was brought here, and the staff has taken over as Mom. We’re feeding him a liquid diet appropriate for seed-eaters, and will soon move him onto solid foods. He’s being kept warm and snug in a cozy enclosure that sits upon a heating pad. Luckily, rock doves stay in Vermont year-round, so we’ll be able to release the bird once he’s grown and flying, despite the cold weather.

As a side-note, all birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. It is illegal to remove birds from nests unless there are dire circumstances, such as both parents being dead or an injury to the baby bird. In this case, the construction work may have scared off the parents, leaving the baby rock dove unable to fend for itself. In most cases, though, construction work is not a legitimate reason to take a baby from its nest, or to disturb the nest. The work must be held off until the baby birds have fledged.


  1. Patootzie on October 30, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Great video! And sweet to hear those peeps in late October.
    It's also fun to watch this baby being fed.
    Maybe next newsletter?

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