Well. The little bird didn’t make it. When I opened the front door this morning to get the paper, the hatchling was upside down on our front porch. He was alive, and the mama and papa sparrow were frantically swooshing about. I shut the door and ran back inside for my computer. I re-read what I’d learned a couple of weeks ago, that sometimes, when he gets big and has enough feathers, a hatchling falls or is purposely nudged out onto the ground, and in that case shouldn’t be touched because the parents will watch over it for a few days until it flies.
Unless the hatchling is in an unsafe place. In that case, it is appropriate to find a safe place for it nearby, either back in the nest or, if a nest can’t be found or reached, then in a little box with newspaper shreddings placed in a bush off the ground. I watched out the window for a while as the baby bird struggled to get off its back and the parents swooshed about. So I went outside with soft gloves and turned the bird over, then went back inside. (I’d read it is a myth that birds will reject a hatchling touched by humans.) I didn’t want to set it on the ground because we have an outdoor cat on our block that is often on our property.
About a minute later, the little bird started shaking (it’s unseasonably cold here in northern Illinois) so I went out and placed it back in his nest, careful to make sure its feet were under its body, as the info I found suggested I do.
This evening, I checked again and he’s dead. Couldn’t help the tears for awhile; a bit angry toward nature, as we’ve been watching the little one for awhile now, from egg to quite a feathered hatchling–the only one to have survived from the batch of six eggs. He even outlived the cowbird egg. Of course, it all seems unfair. I thought for a few moments that next year I wouldn’t hang planters, but one has to have hope. Though from now on it will be in the form of bird houses.