Although I've been doing this work for over 17 years now, the speed with which some of our orphaned patients mature never ceases to amaze me. Naked, helpless baby songbirds turn into fully flighted fledglings in less than three weeks, and many small mammal babies grow to independence within six to twelve weeks.
I was reminded of this rapidity of growth earlier today when I went to check up on a pair of Townsend's Chipmunks that have been in our care since they were found orphaned on May 26. I first saw the chipmunks as they were being fed milk replacement formula on May 31. I took the following photo of one of them at that feeding.
Another photo that I took today, just 40 days later, shows a chipmunk that is now a capable sub-adult, nearly ready for release.
From a helpless, eyes-closed infant to an independent sub-adult in a little over a month. They really do grow up fast.