The Case of the 'Baby-face' Robin :
A few days ago, we found a fledgling Robin trapped inside the row tunnel covering one of our strawberry rows. Kids found it fussing around trying to find a way out when they went to look for berries.
The thing was, both ends were more-or-less closed, and sides pretty much tight to the ground. I've no idea how it got in, though it found it's way in somehow.... When I lifted the tunnel cover to let the "Aww, it's SO CUTE!" thing out, it flew off -- screaming it's head off -- back to the pine tree where we know there's at least one nest. ... we also found 4 half-eaten dead-ripe berries. NOT so cute!
The Case of the 'Escape Artist Wannabe' Robin :
I put up a 6'H lightweight deer netting all along the back fence (2-rail rail fence faced with chickenwire) as a temporary deterrent to keep the groundHOG out. Since it's just tied on here and there to the shrubbery, it slumps down to about 5' and the bottom 6" are laying on the ground, pinned down with sticks. I initially worried about birds getting stuck, but for the past month, every bird I watched found its way out by flying back over the rail fence, and I'd pretty much stopped worrying....
Then, yesterday, I heard the telltale flutter-flop sound of a bird in trouble. A young male adult Robin had gotten his HEAD caught in the netting. I ran inside, got my heavy leather gloves, ran back out, realized the futility of trying to gently hold the bird let alone trying to untangle it from the netting with them on -- by this time, he had a shoulder feather caught in one part and his feet tangled in another and his neck was twisted almost 180Ã‚Âº -- and threw the "gauntlets" down.
The bird wasn't happy to be held, but I got the rest of the body untangled without the cumbersome gloves. However, his head was pretty firmly stuck -- either there was a rip or he ripped it, just enough for the head to go through. Luckily, I had a pruner -- albeit somewhat rusty utility model -- in my back pocket. I could cut out the rest of the netting with some persistence, but I needed to take the bird back to the house for a sharper, pointed pair of scissors to get the netting off the neck. Snip, snip -- "Don't struggle, Bird, I'm trying to get you out." Snip, snip -- "Get AWAY Mosquito, I'm BUSY!" Snip, snip -- "Don't hold it too tight, relax, relax...."
Once I got him cut out with a bit of netting around his neck, I was at the back door, yelling for the kids to bring scissors. They came running, and DD1 was able to snip off the final strand around the Robin's neck while I delicately pulled on the netting to expose just enough gap to slip the scissor through.
Gently cupping and holding out the bird... "Okay, I'm letting it go." He EXPLODED out of my hand in a cloud of feathers that blew right in my face. (Is leaving feathers like this a survival feature, like squid's ink, or a magician's smoke bomb?) -- at least he's got this part of the trick down. When the air cleared, this Escape Artist Wannabe was winging its way over the fence.