This verdin, with distinctive yellow plumage, found himself in a sticky situation … trapped in grape jelly meant to attract larger birds such as orioles. Luckily for him, he was spotted by the homeowners, who immediately removed him from the feeder, cleaned his feathers, then brought him to Tucson Wildlife Center for a wellness check. Upon intake, the tiny bird failed his flight test due to a sore right wing and damaged feathers resulting from his struggle to free himself from the jelly.
Feeding jelly to birds can pose serious risks for smaller birds that can become stuck in the sticky substance. Jelly can adhere to the feathers, making it difficult for the bird to move or fly. This can lead to an increased vulnerability to predators and cause the bird to experience stress, injuries, or exhaustion while attempting to free itself. Safer choices of food that attract orioles are sugar water (four parts water to one part sugar), fresh citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, and live or dried mealworms.
If you encounter a bird that has become stuck in jelly or a similarly sticky substance, it is important to handle the situation with care without causing further stress or harm. Call TWC for advice on next steps.
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