Oh, how they grow!

Would you believe that this bird is the same little guy that came in as a feather-less, pink baby just one month ago? Baby birds grow quickly… very quickly! Look here to see how this bird appeared when he was first brought to VINS in October.

For the past month, VINS’ wildlife services team have been “Rock Dove Mom” to this young bird, making sure he is kept warm and feeding him as his mother would — which, in the dove world, is no small feat! Instead of the rock dove mom placing food into the baby’s mouth as other mom and dad birds do, the baby rock dove will stick his head into his mother’s mouth — way down deep into her crop where she stores food that she herself has gobbled up. To simulate this odd feeding style in a rehabilitation setting, we fill a bottle with hull-less seed, and cover the top with a soft fabric. We then cut a slit into fabric top. The baby bird will stick his beak (and occassionally his whole head!) into that slit while we hold the bottle upside-down. The bird opens his mouth up wide and the seed slides right in. It brings a whole new meaning to bottle-feeding a baby. This juvenile rock dove is now eating on his own. He’s been seen flapping his wings and getting some air beneath his feet. In no time, this bird will be able to fly, and we’ll return him to his home in the wild.

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