Cat Brings Her Family A Very Unusual Present
There was someone very small inside.
A family got the worst surprise this week when their cat dragged in an unusual ball of grass and feathers. Fortunately, they did just the right thing.
The ball turned out to be a nest, but they couldn’t tell if it was occupied.
“They [the family] didn’t know where the nest had come from, so they couldn’t return it where it should have been,” Sarah Nunn, trustee at Folly Wildlife Rescue, a wildlife rescue center in England, told The Dodo. “It was completely unopened. They had no idea if there was anything in it all.”
So they brought it to to Folly Wildlife Rescue, where Nunn was volunteering as a receptionist.
“We knew something had actually used it for nesting because it was lined with so many feathers,” Nunn said. “We very guiltily had to destroy the nest to see what was inside.”
But it was worth it. Inside were three tiny bald baby birds.
Since then, Nunn and the team have been doing everything they can to help the babies grow up big and strong.
At first, the team thought the birds were goldcrests. But as the babies grew (very quickly, Nunn noted), they changed their minds. They now believe they’re young long-tailed tits.
While it’s too early to tell if they’ll make it, the rescuers are doing everything they can to help them — and make sure they have a chance to grow up and build nests of their own.
“They’ll continue to be hand-fed from dawn till dusk,” Nunn said. “Once they start to show signs of feathering up, they’ll be moved out of an incubator and into a larger cage. And once they show signs of wanting to fly and being fairly self-reliant on feeding, they’ll go into an aviary.”
Nunn thinks the baby birds have a good chance, but she also pointed out that this incident could have been prevented.
While cats have a natural instinct to hunt, you can protect wildlife by keeping them inside, at least at night, and making sure they don’t have a chance to sneak up on other animals.
“Night is when they hunt the most,” Nunn said. “Invest in a collar that’s got a bell on it.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that one of the three birds had passed away. The rescue has clarified that all three are doing well.