About a week or two ago all of the baby starlings that live in our eavesdrop fell out of the nest — the nest that was built on the severed and torn parts of many of my tomato plants including the ‘Zapotec Pink Pleated’ and the ‘Patio Orange’, two plants that are forever malformed by the trauma — landing in a succession of hard thumps onto the potting table and turning our lives into a minor farcical comedy staring John Lithgow or Chevy Chase as a bumbling family guy forced to take on the ill-prepared responsibility of caring for a tiny, demanding creature (or creatures). Wacky hijinks ensue. Except that we’re pretty much mostly prepared since around here a baby starling or three seem to fall out of the nest every single year. We’ve been through this routine before.
We immediately made a makeshift nest using a cardboard box and dried plant matter. Lucky for us the parent starlings figured out the situation quickly and have been feeding the babies regularly. Despite their attentiveness two babies have since died. The first was probably injured in the fall and died soon after. The second was smaller than the third and less active. The surviving bird seems healthy and has grown from a nestling that looked like this to one that looks like this. We’ve had to bring the box indoors on a few nights that were too cold, have had to keep the cat inside (she hates us for it), and have found it necessary to stay off the deck ourselves to allow the parents freedom to feed. If we are out there when they come by with food they screech and yell at us to get lost. I like the baby bird but I look forward to the day when it is ready to fly the nest and we can have our deck back.
If you find a starling nestling this site has good instructions on how to care for the baby. Starlings actually leave the nest at the fledgling stage and live on the ground for a couple of days learning to catch food and fly. If you find a baby on the ground it might not be orphaned but in its fledgling stage so it’s important to understand the difference.