“The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp.” ~ John Berry
We had a few new trees planted in our yard on saturday. As N walked around to check on the trees, he found one tree that had an intact nest nestled in its branches. We didn’t think much about it then. On sunday, when N did his rounds again, he found three precious little just-hatched baby birds under the tree! Such tiny creatures with ruffled feathers, and not a clue in their cute little heads about flying. I felt really sorry thinking about the Mama bird flying back to the nursery (from where our landscaper must have bought the tree) and not finding her nest and babies. Has got to be brutal. 😦
Later that afternoon, when the girls had a couple of friends over on a playdate, they spent most of their time outside cuddling and petting the birds (instead of asking for TV and Wii time as usual.). They quickly came up with names for the birds:
- “Peeps” (the one that wouldn’t stop chattering);
- “Oh So Fat” (Not politically correct, huh? Especially since the poor thing didn’t seem any fatter than its siblings); and
- “El Snob” (for the one that had his beak turned up most of the time).
It was amazing watching the birds climb on the girls’ hands and repeatedly jump down from there – perhaps they were trying to figure out flying on their own! And equally delightful were the shrieks from the girls when the birdies climbed on them – and left offerings on their garden gloves. 😉
When I was on the phone with V later that afternoon – after listening to my oohs and aahs for a while – she pointed out that the babies probably couldn’t survive on their own in our yard and that we should look into taking them to a preserve or something (Thanks for the advice, V!). I did some googling (What ever did people do before the internet?) and found, within 20 miles of us, a wildlife rehabilitator who was willing to take the birds in.
On the way over in the car, the four girls took turns carrying the birds in a cardboard box (and, of course, kept asking why they just couldn’t care for the birds themselves). I was terrified that the birds would suddenly start flying around in the car, or worse, collapse under the stress. But, we made it in one piece to the rehabilitator. She was a friendly sexagenarian – living all alone in a tiny house and providing care for birds in trouble as a voluntary service (Meeting her was a mind-blowing experience for me – and a very humbling one, at that. I mean, here I am, having a hard enough time volunteering to help people in need.).
The lady identified the birds as the “house finch” variety, and fed them water from a little dropper. The birds drank lustily and chirped noisily for more water when it wasn’t their turn (hmmm… sibling rivalry already!). The pink inside of their little mouths was quite a sight to behold. The lady patiently answered numerous questions from the girls, and showed us the many bird feeders and aviaries that were scattered around her property. The girls were sad to say goodbye to the birds; even I felt a little twinge of sadness, although it was absolutely the right thing to do (Really, how much more of our kadugus could these little birds have tolerated? Not to mention hanging out alone in our yard without being able to fly.).
Leaving the lady’s home late at night, and promising to return every weekend to check on our birds while they were still in her care, I felt more connected to (and in awe of) nature than ever before in my entire life.