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.
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.
I 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.