Have you ever thought about what would happen if you rescued a baby bird from the first moments it was hatched?
One woman learned just how responsive a baby animal can be with its caretaker. When Susan Hickman found a small hatched bird egg on the ground in 2014, her curiosity was aroused and she was shocked to see that the baby Starling was still alive. Having been a bird lover, Hickman was excited to see that the baby was still alive and she felt compelled to take care of it. She instantly made the decision to raise it, regardless of the warnings of bird rehabbers that the baby didn’t stand a chance at surviving in her care. Having gotten instantly attached, Hickman named the baby bird “Klinger.” While the necessary feedings every 20-30 minutes were exhausting for her, Hickman had developed a strong bond with Klinger and soon she was changing her mind about releasing the bird back into the wild.
“Klinger was raised as an only bird from the day he hatched,” said Hickman, who was afraid that Klinger wouldn’t be able to survive on its own in the wild. “A single bird cannot be raised without imprinting on its caretaker. Imprinting is a special learning process which occurs early in life, through which an animal develops a sense of species identification.”
Because Hickman lived in a state that allowed wild birds to be kept as pets, she made the decision to keep Klinger and continue growing the bond with her newfound feathered friend.
In the video below you can witness Klinger’s amazing progress from the time he was hatched…
Klinger was just a tiny pink baby when Hickman first found him on the ground and she refused to leave him behind, so she made him a makeshift incubator just moments after she discovered him. For the first few days of Klinger’s life, Hickman had to dedicate every hour of her day to the bird as he required feedings every 20 minutes. The bird instantly took to Hickman’s care and eagerly accepted the food she gave him from a small straw that she had made into a miniature spoon. Klinger was fragile from the start and Hickman had to be sure to use delicate hands to administer his meals, but soon his physical features started to develop and he even had a layer of fluffy hair.
Having never missed a meal, Klinger soon grew hearty and his feathers began to grow in and his eyes started to open. It didn’t take long for Klinger to look like a full blown bird and had grown so much that he took up space in Hickman’s palm. Some of Hickman’s responsibility eased when Klinger was able to feed himself and he even taught himself how to fly.
After Klinger had grown more independent he was able to function as he would in the wild and he even had a makeshift bird bath where he bathed in a bowl in Hickman’s sink.
Thanks to Hickman’s instinct, Klinger was able to live a life of luxury and the two became lifelong friends.