what's the survival rate of finches reared in captivity and released back to the wild?
June 27, 2010 10:06 PM   Subscribe

Super random question, but does anyone have any data on the survival rate of finches (the house finch, in particular) that are released back into the wild after being reared in captivity (e.g., a rehabilitator)?
posted by wuMeFi to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: BTW, I could not find any data on the internet.. but maybe I suck at google.
posted by wuMeFi at 10:09 PM on June 27, 2010

Best answer: If you can't find the answer, you might want to check out Cornell's site where you can ask an expert.
posted by quodlibet at 10:17 PM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Chances are it will be fine, although if you release it near where it was raised by people, it might hang around and beg for food for a while.

I once had a neighbor who worked with an animal rescue group, she was often given birds to foster until they could be released.

It was always interesting when they would be let go, I recall a bluejay that would come and land on my shoulder in the back yard, but this only lasted for a couple of weeks. There was also a time when a dove came and sat on top of an outbboard motor on my boat as I was changing the oil and plugs...
posted by HuronBob at 3:13 AM on June 28, 2010

Best answer: I checked the Birds of North America site which is the go-to site for bird information (in US and Canada only); unfortunately you have to subscribe to it.

In normal conditions if this released bird was an adult, it's annual survival is just above 50%. House finches also get hit by some nasty diseases so actual survival is likely lower than these estimates that were from a healthy population.

And on rereading I see that the bird was raised by a rehabber so that means it would actually be a juvenile. Juvenile morality of birds generally is very very high. The BNA accounts says that of 345 nestlings banded, only 16 (~5%) returned the next year. I don't know which way rehabbing would effect survival but it is unlikely to survive until next year. Sorry.
posted by hydrobatidae at 11:23 AM on June 28, 2010

Response by poster: hydrobatidae: thanks for the useful info. Poor little birdies :( I was wondering, though, do those numbers apply specifically to the rehabbed finches, or do they apply to the wild finch population in general? Like do rehabbed finches have an equal chance of surviving in the wild as their naturally-raised-in-the-wild brethren do? Thanks again..
posted by wuMeFi at 1:31 PM on June 28, 2010

Response by poster: Oh, actually you said that you don't know which way rehabbing would affect the survival, nevermind! thx
posted by wuMeFi at 1:35 PM on June 28, 2010

I just saw your other question and I could go either way with a rehabbed bird. In rehab the bird probably had more access to food so it could be in better body condition when it was released leading to increased survival compared to wild birds. However, a bird in rehab would have less experience finding food in the wild so after it was released it would quickly lose its good body condition. Of course, this is a sparrow so it might not need to be especially wily about finding food.
posted by hydrobatidae at 6:58 AM on June 30, 2010

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