Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Rescuers...But not Down Under

R-e-s-c-u-e!  Rescue aide society!

Remember that little song form the Rescuers Down Under?  Well, we are featuring our own little rescue society here, and so far our successes are fair to middlin'.

First there were the tadpoles:

Remember them?  We successfully had 24 of 25 tadpoles become tiny toads.

We were surprised to learn that they didn't all metamorphose at once.  The last one metamorphosed nearly two weeks after the first one!

Then there was the turtle rescue:

We will assume he was a success.

Then there is this:

Why yes, it is a bird.  A, perhaps, unsightly bird.  You see, he'd already lost all of his fluff and had moved to the awkward pin feather stage.

You know there's a story, right?  Of COURSE there's a story!

It was a lovely sunshine filled Saturday morning at my parents house.  Dad had already been to the field to rake and bale hay, and I was enjoying a first cup of coffee at the ridiculously late hour of 7:30.  Popcorn had been playing outside by herself since 6am.  I know the time because I had forgotten to turn off my phone alarm, and it had went off.  I was lying in my childhood bedroom and I saw her walk past in the hallway.  I never noticed her walking back by...

Anyway, Popcorn had been out adventuring.  She had "almost caught a robin and a rabbit."  And while, neither of these were successful endeavors, they lead her to an adventure that I got to experience daily as a child.  Adventure that I took for granted.  She chased a robin, then a baby bunny, and finally ended up petting the horses in the corral.  At 7:05, she could contain her news of adventures and came in to tell me of all her discoveries.  Her sister finally drug her lazy carcass out of bed, and I fed them both a piece of toast and a glass of milk, then kicked them out of the door...

Then my brother stopped by, wondering what I had cooked for breakfast.  Poor David, he didn't register that since Mom was gone at the moment, I felt no desire to pick up her reins and cook a morning feast.  He opened the refrigerator and stared at it, much as a teenage boy does, dug through a few cupboards, grunted his disapproval, and headed out the door to help a neighbor with farming.

And now we're back to where we began:  Me trying to savor that first cup of coffee after FINALLY realizing how to work my parents new coffee maker, and Dad sitting down to enjoy a simple piece of toast and jelly with me.

"Mom!  Hurry, come quick!  We found a baby bird!  Hurry, hurry!"  Bookworm came bursting through the front storm door carrying the scent of sunshine and crisp clean air.

"Let Grandpa finish his toast and me my coffee."  And she dashed back outside to stand vigil over the sure to escape baby.

Well, after we finished our chat and breakfast, Dad & I went out to see the new discovery.  Sure enough!  There was a baby bird, flopping clumsily about, with another baby bird lying dead a foot away.  We looked all over, trying to find the nest.  No birds were fluttering about our heads trying to chase us away from their young.  We only found one bird's nest.  It had a mother dove sitting on it, and they looked nothing like the little foundling I was now carrying in my hand (the girls were afraid to touch it, the little city slickers thought he could hurt them.)

My dad, the ever helpful one said to the girls, "Well, you can either feed it to the cat, or try to save it."

Guess what they chose.  Now, Brent was quite shocked to learn my dad would encourage attempting to save a limp, nearly dead bird, but he did not know my dad's history of wild animals.  My dad raised a baby raccoon, and it lived IN THE HOUSE with him.

The raccoon turned out to be a pest because when Dad tried to release him to the wild, it kept coming back.   Usually at night, and it would climb up to his window and wake him up, wanting to play.  So, Dad being my dad, would tie it in a pillow case so it would leave him alone...

Then there was the baby hawk.  He raised it until it was able to fly away.  How many kids raised a hawk?

And to quote him he raised probably "forty dozen" cotton tails...

So clearly, the idea of raising a single baby bird was no big deal to him.

So, I found a plastic shoe box and we lined it with paper towels.  We soaked some bread in milk and fed him little bites, along with a miller my dad caught and pulled the wings off of.

Guess what?  forty eight hours after finding him, my girls were done with the bird.  Bookworm even went so far to say "Mom, I'm done with the bird.  If you and Popcorn want to save it, fine.  But I really could care less."  However, I was now on a mission.  If Dad could raise a HAWK, surely I could raise one pin feathered baby bird of indiscriminate origin.  So, just because we had to go build fence in the bottom of a canyon, that did NOT keep me from taking care of my young charge.

I continued to faithfully check on "Baby" every hour or so, and feed it cat food soaked in water if he was squawking when I came around...

*Gentle Reader:  Lest you feel compelled to give me bird raising advice, please realize I was in the country.  And I was camping.  My smart phone was simply a phone, so the world wide web was not at my fingertips, so if it seemed like a good idea, we fed it to "Baby."*

So, we there is this baby bird.  And he's quite demanding.  And the girls were quite over the magic of the bird, and had no fantasies of a tame bird coming to rest on their shoulder, but more mental images of this:

Blue bird feathers.  Evidence that we have a murderer at our house.  Also known as Misty the cat.  But she is for sure a hunter.  A hunter who loves bird.

So, while I was having Cinderella visions, my kids are visualizing a dead bird hanging from our cat's mouth...

Then at about two o'clock one afternoon while we were camping, I realized I had not checked on him since Popcorn and Elvis gave it a worm at noon.  I went to our camper and found him fallen to his side, unable to get up.

I sat him up, and he immediately fell back over and did not even open his mouth wide and squawk at me.

So, I fed him to Kelsey.  Which is really what Kelsey felt I should have done all along.

A few hours later the girls each dropped by and asked me about "Baby."  And I told them, "Well, he couldn't get up, so I fed him to Kelsey."

And my girls proved just how much they are my dad's granddaughters when they both said, "That's sad."  And they were over it.

So.  Who wants to trust their children to my tender loving mercies now?


gianna said...

You're a nurse, right?
he he he!

Anonymous said...

As someone who grew up in the midwest, always around farmers and ranchers, I totally get the animal reality check.

However, as a current resident of Washington, home to animal activists freaks who think it's a crime to swat flies, I'm gunna' pretend I don't know you for a few days, OK? Don't want to share your jail cell. :)

The Lumberjack's Wife said...

Did you feed the bird to your dog ALIVE???