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10/01/2010 18:59:57 by debby cook
has anyone out there sucessfully reared and released a swift? i am very proud to say i have.i used to work in a pet shop,where we sold food and accessories,it was quite normal to get strange requests but this one took the biscuit! a boy of around 12yrs came in one day with a fluffy grey bundle and said he had just rescued it from a cat! i wasnt sure what it was until it opened its mouth,it was wide,flat and bright yellow inside.it was either a swallow,swift or house martin.it had odd shaped feet as well with a grip that would rival a parrot for strength!i told the boy i would do my best.the rspca said to put it back and let nature take its course! sorry but i couldnt condemn the baby bird to that fate;i did some research and realised that i had my work cut out! its an insect eater.we did out best by trying to catch moths at night but had to give that a miss in the end.i sat pondering and came up with the idea that insects are high in protein,so a very high quality dried cat food might just save our bacon!(cat food is a lot higher in protein than dog food)then my boss said that egg biscuit might be beneficial too.i mixed cat food and egg biscuit with warm water and let it soak until mushy.total success,the bird loved it and grew really fast.i kept the bird in a small box with kitchen paper in bottom,didnt handle the bird until feed times,cleaned out the paper.i gave the bird water on a cotton bud to start with.only when its feathers came through did we know for certain what it was,a swift.it started to stretch its wings after feeding while out of its"nest" so allowed it to fly in our living room with the certains shut.we called it 'splat' because thats what it did onto the sofa!the bird was big by the time i started taking it outside,it would sit in my hand and watch everything going on.then one day it took off from my hand and landed on the lawn,i picked it up held it up again and off it went!never to look back! mixed emotions for me then,sadness that it had gone... then elation at successfully rearing a swift!