I wasn't sure whether to Blog or Tweet this one......
Approximately 2 weeks ago, I was packing for a day at the beach, when I heard a frenzy of bird noise coming from the maple tree in the front yard. My super keen bird sense....my sixth sense, if you will, kicked in to full gear. I knew there was baby birdie danger about.
I sprang to my feet and made a mad dash out the front door. Sadie, my beagle/shepherd mix, was staring vehemently at the ground with her ears pricked up. All these factors could only mean one thing....a baby had fallen from the comfort and protection of his little birdie nest.
I scoop him up and assessed his condition. I am not a veterinarian, however, I do possess the unique talent of spotting animal injuries.....and broken wings are no exception.
He was stunned....silent and still, he lay in the palms of my hands. We would name him "Robin...Robin XI" . Yes, very poetic, I know.
OK, Ava, today you earn the right of passage, in baby bird nursing. " What...? I have to let the baby bird suck my boobs?" (oi)
I instruct her.... "Get a box, fill it with grass, and a small cloth. Put some dry dog food in a plastic cup and add water. This is what he will eat. You mush it up, put in on your finger and stick it down his throat. Don't worry, you'll get used to it
Now, in my experience , baby birds need to eat every hour or so. I truly didn't need this extra burden, but what was I to do....it was either that, or leave it for my cats to murder...and I just couldn't do it.
After settling Robbie in his new, temporary home, I continued to pack up the car. I told the gang that the bird would be coming with.
Dave was appalled...and could not believe I was taking the bird to the beach. I had no choice. I explained to him the needs of the hatchling....he told me to get a job.
As we drove, Ava was very good with the bird. She asked if this was one of her birthday presents. I was about to blurt out in laughter, but the lightbulb went off instead. "yes...yes it is...in fact...it is you only gift. Happy early Birthday (suckaaaa)
As we arrived at the beach, and unpacked, I carefully wedged the box in the jogging stroller. Emma had to be carried.
People didn't really notice....regardless of the fact that in big bold letters on the outside of the box read "LIVE BIRD". It wasn't until I continuously brought him out to feed did we become a true spectacle. It went so far as the stroller needing to be rotated throughout the day so as to keep Robbie from being dehydrated. I missed a rotation, and was eagerly awaiting an old lady anxious to tell me to get my baby out of the sun....just so I could have the pleasure of uttering the phrase "Its a Fucking BIRD".
At the home front, the most difficult task was keeping Robin from the three cats....two in particular who are known for slaughtering mostly anything smaller than a bread box.
The bird had to be kept in the girls bedroom, with the door shut. We skillfully wedged the box in the window jam and fashioned a perch. By the second day, he was ready to sit in a branch and look around, and the four walls of the brown box was not going to work.
With Ava at school, I was the sole caretaker of robin. I checked on him often, and fed him as needed. It wasn't much longer before he began testing out his wings and was able to fly a few feet at a time. Of course, he still was not safe outdoors. This meant a whole lot of bird shit and purell were in Ava and Liza'a future.
Several days and many loads of laundry later, Robbie was strong enough to fly high into the trees. We practiced with him by throwing him off the deck. He acted as a boomarang at first, but soon got the hang of it. I knew, per past experience, that he would come back for feedings.
What I hadn't accounted for was the fear of god he would afflict on my neighbors. It hadn't occurred to me that he would swoon at any human in earshot looking for food.
Picture if you will, Jessica Tandy or Suzanne Plechette, in Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 thriller, "The Birds".
As my neighbor walked innocently down her driveway, she had been unexpectedly bombarded with the likes of Robin. Diving into her head, she swatted and jumped into the back seat of her SUV.
This happened to a few members of her family, and regrettably, to a mother of one of her daycare students. For the next several days, she would call and ask where KUJO was before exiting her home. He husband made mention of whacking Robbie onto his hot grill....and I fear he is serious.
The task of keeping Robbie safe was getting increasingly more difficult, as he would fly from the trees to the deck railing and wait for me. Did he not realize the danger lurking? Did he not fear the canine/feline occupants?
With the baby hanging from one arm, Robbie on my head and a cat or two in the other arm, I frantically and was constantly trying to get the cats into the basement. It was no easy feat, and I teared a couple of times...and admittedly, but only for a moment, wished the cats would eat him just so I could have a little reprieve.
Two days ago, Robin came for his breakfast. I made him scrambled eggs (oh..the irony). I noticed that he had a bit of laryngitis and I was a bit concerned. He ate less then usual, and flew away into the woods.
It was the last I saw of him. I am now left to wonder if I raised him well enough to join his fellow robins in the wild, or if his laryngitis was a sign of something more serious. I checked on Webmd, but to my dismay, there was nothing in regards to wild birds with lack of tweet.