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  • In reply to Marina P:

    Thanks everyone who replied. Glad you liked them Marina, they are sooo cute. We made up our own ORS using cooled boiled water quantity 1/4 pt with a few grains of salt and sugar added. (A very weak solution) but I'm sure it can be bought already done.

    We then fed this to them on the brush. I didn't have a shringe but the brush worked equally well as they were ready to take food. All I did was to tickle the brush hairs along the sides of their beaks. They opened them up immediately and swallowed; suffice to say being hungry helped! This implement keeps the handler a decent distance from the chicks so they don't get spooked and don't imprint on you. While this was digesting in their tummies I decapitated some Wax worms and squeezed the innards out and made it into a baby mash, then fed this in the same manner on a separate brush mixed with the fluid again. It all worked well and I was praised by the staff at the wildlife centre for acting the way I did and that I had given them life saving treatment.

    With regard to why the parents left the nest we still have no idea. I have gone through every piece of footage both the  inside camera and the outside CCTV camera in case I had made a mistake but I can confirm the parents did not return to their babies.

    Yes, it could have been predation, mind you I've since been informed by a bird enthusiast that the female might have simply dropped dead .Laying eggs and raising the chicks from start to finish can be exhausting keeping up with demand and they just run out of energy; especially if they are an older bird. The female fed the chicks every15 mins until about 8am, with the male popping in now and then. He came back to give them their last feed at 11am, after that neither parent came back to the box. So something happened to the female between 8 and 11am or a decision of some kind was made by the male, or both. I think it unlikely that both birds would have been predated within this short space of time, but who can say?

    I understand that a lone parent can raise chicks on their own but with difficulty. It's guess work but the male may have left them to  perish if he had another nest with chicks nearby and another female wanting his attention. Maybe he had to make a 'decision' if that is what they do, which one was to take priority. I have had a situation in the past where I could definitely tell that one male was serving two females so it is not out of the question. Incidentally, I also think that had this nest been in woodland their chirruping would have attracted predators and their lives would have ended sooner. In a garden box they are pretty much protected therefore their demise would have taken much longer with more suffering had I not intervened. Having a camera can sometimes be a mixed blessing!

    No doubt we shall never know for sure what did happen to Tom & Jess.

    'ASK THE BIRDS, THEY WILL SHOW YOU THE BEAUTY OF THIS EARTH'    St Francis of Assisi - Patron Saint of Animals.

  • In reply to KathleenRaynor:

    Thanks for info Kathleen - I will try it next time. I have never thought of squashing wax worms, I usually feed egg yolk mixed with mushed breadcrumbs, if they are too young, or chopped earth worms from our wormerie if they are nearer fledging. I have had to feed a few chicks in the past and usually they don't spook by people - I think they are 'programmed' to open beaks when they see something approaching. Imprinting though is indeed a concern. The tickling on the side of the beak can be very handy in the case of stubborn chicks.

    You are right, we won't know what happened to Tom and Jess but thanks to you there are now six Toms and Jesses around and that is a massive success!

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    "Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way." John Muir