In our apartments starlings nest in dryer vents and are viewed as a pests. Although the best solution would be to insure that the vents are cleaned out before spring time and blocked somehow to prevent nesting, baby birds are often removed in inhumane ways, either taking out the nest and laying it on the ground or blowing the nest and babies out with a blower.
My husband, Joe, saw the fate of the baby birds and begged for alternative solutions. He saw that little baby birds, even starlings, should have a better chance than being blown out and left to die. The maintenance people gave him four little pink baby birds. Joe took on the task of raising the birds to set them free.
The babies were so tiny and so needy. There is no way they would have survived without our help. We got to work researching and finding out how to feed them and we were determined them get through their first few weeks of life, so they could survive on their own.
The first week was intense with feedings every 20 minutes for about 12 hours a day. They were very messy eaters. When it was time for feeding, Joe would say “PEEP” to encourage them to open their mouths. With such an intense feeding schedule, the whole family had to pitch in to help feed the little babies. We tried not to handle them too much, but before they had feathers the feedings were so messy, we had to wash them.
For the first few weeks they were in a shoe box and we would keep the lid closed except during feeding time. Once I was playing the piano while the birds were resting in their nest box and I heard how excited the birds would get when I would play high notes. I realized that they probably needed to hear their bird song. So I starting playing a couple different starling song YouTube videos everyday for them so they could learn their own bird songs.
Once the birds began jumping up on the side of their box, we had to rearrange accommodations so they could learn more movement and start learning to fly. Joe ended up converting a portion of our garage into a large enclosure for them to explore safely. At this time we started adding freeze dry crickets and chicken cat-food to their diet of bird formula and having water out for them. We were surprised at how long it took for them to learn to eat on their own. We were a little worried that they would never gain this necessary independence; however, we finally realized that other birds about their age outside were still in their nests and they were still babies.
Once the birds were getting close to 7 weeks old they started exhibiting good signs of independence. They did not show too attachment to Joe, but more eagerness to explore and they were now eating on their own. We decided it was time for release. We took them to a remote area away from the apartments, we opened the box and they all flew away.
At least now they have a chance and they are strong enough to survive on their own.