In June 2014, Susan Hickman found a small, cracked bird egg on the ground. When she picked it up, she was stunned to realize a baby Starlet was still alive inside.
Though bird rehabbers warned her the bird would likely die, Susan named the bird Klinger and dedicated herself to raising him. For the first two weeks of his life, Susan had to feed Klinger every 20 to 30 minutes. It was an exhausting process, but she felt a strong connection to the baby she saved.
Susan originally had planned to raise and then release Klinger back into the wild when he was ready — but she soon found out that would be impossible.
“Klinger was raised as an only bird from the day he hatched,” she explains. “A single bird cannot be raised without imprinting on its caretaker. Imprinting is a special learning process which occurs early in life, through which an animal develops a sense of species identification.”
Because of this, Susan feared the bird would not survive alone in the wild. Luckily, she lives in a state where Starlings can be kept as pets, so Klinger has a forever home with his adoptive mom.
In the video below, watch Klinger’s amazing journey unfold over the course of his first year with Susan.
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