Ok, here is the promised saga of the baby birds mentioned a couple of posts ago:
I had a decorative basket hanging on a wall outside next to the front door. A family of pretty little brown birds built a nest in it and pretty soon a constant chorus
of chirping accompanied our comings and goings through the door. One day last week my little girl and I came home from running errands and she excitedly ran around our driveway picking up rocks (she’s obsessed). I heard her say, “Oh!” I looked over to see an oddly shaped pinkish thing on the concrete in front of her. As she reached toward it I realized it was a tiny, featherless, motionless baby bird. “Don’t touch it!” I barked, then putting on false calm and cheer I said, “It’s a baby bird. He’s taking a nap in the sun. Let’s leave him alone.” I scanned the area and realized the nest had been destroyed. Turning to go inside I almost stepped on a second chick. This one clearly still alive. Heart pounding I took my toddler inside, convinced her that we did not need to take the baby birds a blanket for their nap, and distracted her with Cinderella while I tried to figure out what to do. After consulting with my husband and leaving a message with the bird rescue at Oak Mt. State Park, I put plastic bags on my hands (we didn’t have any gloves) and stepped outside.
Approaching the first baby bird, I knelt down. He was so tiny. I expected to have trouble picking him up. However he craned his head on his too thin little neck toward my hand and actually seemed to do his best to work his way into my palm. I can’t in good conscious say he was cute… He was bald with huge closed eyes, however it was odd to me the similarities he seemed to share with fetal humans. We all start out pretty scrawny and ugly and I felt a maternal sort of protectiveness for him. I put him back in the nest, then went to help his sibling who I thought was already dead. I was wrong, though! He, too, craned toward my hand.
The rest of the afternoon I worried over them. Their mother flew back and forth to the nest and I thought maybe they’d be ok. A lady from Oak Mt. called me back and told me I’d done the right thing (and, for future reference, the gloves were unnecessary. The whole thing about your scent making the mother abandon them is a myth) and that the mother could tell whether or not they would make it.
They didn’t make it. I confess I cried. So yesterday, despite other things I needed to do during my little girl’s nap, I had a bird funeral. I put them under the tree where I normally saw their mother. Walking into the garage to put away my spade and gloves, I heard a familiar chirping. I looked up to see the edges of a nest high in the rafters near a space where the roof and wall don’t quite connect, leaving an opening to the outside. New babies! In my garage! I smiled.
This weekend I think I’ll buy some flowers to plant in the basket.