“Blue jay” by Melissa McMasters, on Flickr
Remember when I posted about a nestling blue jay that had been brought to us after the finder had fed it dog kibble? Well, it happened again. This well-intentioned finder kept him for two months and fed him dog food, apparently on the advice of something that had been seen on the internet.
Guys. The internet is not telling you the truth. Yes, there are some animals that we give canned wet dog food to, but they are always adults whose diet would include food similar to the wet canned dog food anyway. Just like you would never feed an infant human steak, you should not be feeding baby animals steak, or dog food, or solids in general.
This time it’s a fledgling and, miraculously, has survived, but is physically underdeveloped due to a lack of proper nutrition. He also does not know how to “gape” for food, so feeding him what he should be eating is a challenge.
This photo shows a nestling robin properly gaping so it can be fed. Photo by Martin Chroust-Masin
He has been kept in a small kennel for two months and has never been taught how to be a bird. We’ve put him in the aviary with the other two blue jays his age, hoping he will learn from them, but there is a chance he may not be releasable. I cannot say it enough: if you find an injured, orphaned or sick wild animal, call a licensed wildlife rehabber immediately before you touch anything, do anything, or feed it anything. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please don’t make an animal’s life hell by making assumptions about what you think you know. Just make the call to a wildlife specialist, and do not trust the internet.