Life and death

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I was mulching the garden over the weekend and right before I emptied a bag of Black Forest mulch on the ground I happened to notice what looked like a piece of mold on the ground. As I looked closer I saw the mold move.

It was a baby bird.

Nestling

It's little face was buried in the ground and it was moving its flimsy little pink wing nubs in a lame effort to right itself. Its eyes were nothing more than swollen purple lumps beneath a flimsy slip of skin. What I thought was mold was actually its feathers. In all reality, it looked like a giant wart with a beak.

Minutes earlier I had heard birds squawking and I found a broken nest on the ground just feet away from where I found the baby bird but at the time I thought nothing of it. 

Baby things get me because I see my children in every other child or baby critter and it's just, well, disturbing.

bird2.jpgI told you. Disturbing.

I scooped the little dude up into my gardening glove and showed the boys before calling wildlife rescue - who weren't open and accepting animals until 9 a.m. the next day, so the boys and I made it a priority to keep the baby alive until then. Chris shook his head sadly as we gathered leaves to fix the broken nest and caught and mushed up earthworms with which to feed it. I ascertained that the bird had fallen three stories to the ground as I'd seen birds going to a nest on the top of our house earlier. The bird's neck was all weird so I wasn't sure that he was going to make it anyway, but I couldn't leave the bird there to just die on the ground.

We told both boys that the bird may not make it, so do not be surprised if, when they go to check on it in the morning, the bird is dead.

"Well, at least we tried and I think God would be happy about that," Liam said, doing his best Benjamin Button impersonation.

We tried to feed the bird the mashed up worm concoction to no avail. I gently laid it in its nest and set it back in the spot where I found it originally, hoping that the mama bird would come back, else I was going to call DFS on her. I went to check on it once and I thought I saw a swallow on a fence across the street. Not wanting to impede a reunion, I left the bird alone.

I checked back on it around midnight and it was dead and already covered with jerk ants. Sometimes I wish nature had a bit more courtesy or I a bit more balls, but whatever.

We told the boys later on that morning and they took it in stride. Things die, things happen. A message easy to understand with a baby bird, but whether it will translate to a building block for trials later in their lives, who knows.

8 Comments

That is so sad. :( But a good life lesson to learn. I'm impressed with how you handled the whole situation.

Your kids are precious - "Well, at least we tried and I think God would be happy about that." I think He is too.

That is sad but it's great that you guys tried to take care of it. I also see my son in little animals. I also tend to see my Pug too. I'm glad I'm not the only one because my husband doesn't quite understand it :)

Brings to mind (for those of us old enough to remember, or those who love TVLand) the famous Andy Griffith episode when Opie cares for the orphaned baby birds. Precious. What great values you are sharing with your boys, Dana - that all life is precious, that one person can make a difference.

Last year, a beautiful pair of cardinals built a marvelously intricate nest in the big rosebush next to my front porch. The birds seemed totally unfazed by humans just inches away on the front porch, and just went about their business. Eventually, Mrs. Cardinal started spending a lot of time in sitting in the nest, and we spotted a clutch of darling eggs. Then one day, we heard CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP....the little eggs had hatched. Everything was going great until a torrential summer rainstorm. Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal abandoned the nest, never to return. It absolutely broke my heart to look in the next and see the drowned baby birds in there. The poor things had such a short, unfair life.

See, while you may have had a soft spot for the bird, I would have been bawling like a baby and while I understand that nature is a cruel mistress, it's still hard to see how brutal it can be. Poor little baby bird.

I once found a nest of beautiful blue eggs abandoned on my back porch. Not wanting the dog to eat them I put them high up on an electrical box hoping the mommy bird would return. She never did, but I guess the electrical box was warm enough for those little chickies. They hatched sometime later, but I am not sure what happened to them after that... perhaps I blocked it from memory?

This story made me think of Jesus' words, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

We found a litter of baby bunnies in our yard when mowing one day...they were old enough to be on their own, but just barely. I found the runt hiding from our cat, who eats everything that moves and is smaller than him.

We rescued the bunny, put him in a cage with some water and clover and grass, and I made the supreme mistake of letting my oldest son name the bunny "Pip". That evening my son wanted to go look at the bunny, opened the cage, and our OTHER cat, the one who never catches a mouse, went after that poor bunny.

If you've never heard a bunny cry when it's being hurt, you're lucky. It's a horrible sound. What made it worse was my son standing there, watching the whole thing, horrified. I felt like the worst mother ever. We learned a serious lesson: Do not get attached to wild animals, and especially do not when you have predatory pets.

Like your son said, we told our kid that we had tried to help the bunny. Next time we'll do better.

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