Not being the natural mother of a small bird, I find it a bit difficult to keep my adopted child clean. Chip is pretty good at grooming his wing and tail feathers, but his poor little head has all kinds of dried food stuck to its feathers. One eye was briefly glued shut by an overshot of cat food from the jammed syringe. Here’s the problem: I am using a syringe that should be shooting West Nile Virus vaccine or something else that’s totally liquid into a horse. The syringe was never intended to shoot parts of cat food or pulverized seeds into a bird’s mouth. As a consequence, when a big chunk of food comes near the outlet, it jams the flow. If I put on more pressure, the chunk abruptly shoots out with great force, taking with it more food. The poor bird’s head gets plastered with cat food. I use a wetted cotton ball to remove the offending detritus, but that doesn’t work as well as the mildly selective beak of a mother bird. As a result, the little baby’s head gets pretty well plastered with overshot food.
I hope Chip finds a mate who’s attentive to his sanitary needs, because I don’t know if I can release him truly clean.