Especially if you happen to be a lonely little sparrow who's left the nest too early !
I believe that's exactly what has happened to this forlorn little chap (above). I noticed on Tuesday morning that amongst the flitting , fluttering mass of birds was a rather dejected looking little fledgling hunkered down on the ground . All the adult birds were doing a fine and busy job of feeding their newly fledged young ; continously popping back to them to pass over yet another tasty little morsel . At this time of year our three bird feeders can "go down" in seed volume by as much as a third a day - they really are hungry little customers , and many a squabble breaks out between harassed parents all waiting for a perch at the feeding tube to become free ! Sparrows , Green Finches , Blue Tits , and Gold Finches , are all ushering their babies in and out of the undergrowth , on twigs and off them , in to the garden and out again , it can get quite dizzying watching them !
I had seen this little one running up to some of the adult birds and optimistically fluttering his wings in the typical "feed me" manner - he even tried it with a dunnock ! - but he was resolutely ignored . Eventually I decided to check what the situation was with this youngster ; could he even fly ? From the conservatory I could clearly see that he was much fluffier than his counterparts , and still has a "gape" at the corners of his mouth (the exaggerated thick , yellow beak edges which encourage parent birds to be a good aim with the food !!) I walked out slowly on to the lawn , and the poor little thing scuttled to the cover of the Eucalyptus foliage , where he managed a very low "assisted jump" on to the plant , less than a foot off the ground . I went back indoors , puzzling over whether there was anything that could be done to help him ; he's clearly not quite matured enough to have fledged - perhaps he fell from a crowded nest ?
I continued to watch out for "Chirpy" (well , I had to name him didn't I ??) and some hours later a female adult did come and feed him ; diligently for about an hour . Perhaps she lost interest , or maybe he's not even hers , in any case after that he was back under the lilacs in his original station , squatted down .
A good , long look out of the window can reward you with many interesting bird behaviours at this time of year .... difficult not to anthropomorphise them though ! At one time 2 fledgling sparrows were huddled together in front of the window whilst mum collected their grub , and Chirpy waddled in a straight line , fast as he could to huddle on the end of the row ! The twins' mother wasn't fooled however , and although she allowed him to snuggle up he was politely disregarded !
In the evening I put down a jar lid with the tiniest seed in it (mostly millet) and some finely snipped up bacon fat ; leaving it well under the lilac bush . I shall always wonder if he actually got any of it , or whether it was a welcome treat for the teeny woodmice who scamper almost unseen at the edge of my garden fence . I feel sure that he just needs a week or so to mature his little feathers and off he'll go !
Imagine my delight last night when Ashley took these photos of Chirpy , balanced fairly high up (a good sign) in the shrubs next to the feeder stations . Surely no other young bird would just sit there whilst being approached with a huge camera !! He was rewarded with a seed filled flat tray where he can easily get at it .
Here's another pic of him .... aahhhhh !