FLORENCE, S.C. – On a normal Sunday morning, one Florence family gained a new member of the family: a baby blue jay.
Nancy Keil found Tweety, the baby blue jay, in their front yard after it fell out of a tree last Sunday morning. Keil said there were two baby birds, but one flew away and Tweety was left on the ground.
Keil said they didn’t see the mother bird come back, but Kolten Bell, her 7-year-old grandson, ran out to rescue the bird.
“Next thing I know, Kolten is over there holding it (the bird), which is really strange because he has a sensory disorder and an eating disorder,” said Kolten’s mother, Rogina Keil. “So for him to actually hold the bird and touch it was really amazing because he’s really sensitive with different things.”
Nancy said Kolten is very sensitive about touching things.
“It is a big accomplishment for him, I think, because he’s never done anything like that before,” Nancy said. “He’s so afraid of bugs, and he won’t touch anything.”
Kolten has an oral aversion, Nancy said. Kolten eats mostly stage two baby food, but she is hoping that through taking care of the bird, he will learn the importance of eating.
“I think he’s learning that you need to feed the animal to keep it alive, and that is exactly what we’ve been trying to teach him: how important it is to have the food and the nutrients,” Nancy said.
She said the two have become friends while keeping the bird. Tweety follows Kolten around, and Kolten spends a lot of time with the bird, she said.
Each morning the Kolten cleans the nest he made for the bird, putting new grass into the nest. He feeds the bird wet cat food using tweezers. Kolten has also tried to teach the bird to fly by imitating flapping wings with his arms.
In Kolten’s neighborhood there are a lot of cats, and Kolten said he wanted to make sure Tweety was safe from the cats.
Rogina said Kolten put the bird on his bicycle handlebars and rode with the bird up and down their driveway.
Each day, Nancy said, the bird gets closer to flying. The first day they had the bird, the bird only hopped around, and now the bird is beginning to fly up to the bottom of the storm door window.
Rogina said they have reached out to local wildlife management organizations to see if anyone can take the bird, and they’ve searched the internet for how to take care of the bird.
She said they are willing to take care of Tweety as long as it takes to make sure the bird is able to fly on its own and return to its home.