Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm a sucker for underdogs.

My mom still tells stories about me coming home from grade school telling her I had to "beat up another boy today." She would ask me why and it was always an answer like, "He was picking on so-and-so." I even had to save kids from my own brother, but that's another story for another day.

Wildlife is no exception to my altruistic plight. Just before I shoved off to work this morning, I noticed a bird in the pile of leaves I had pushed over into the corner of my patio over the weekend. It looked young, and I didn't think it quite old enough to fly. I approached it carefully and it tried to fly off. Sure enough, it only got about a foot off the ground, flapping its wings furiously, while slowly descending back to the leaf pile. The baby robin had virtually no chick fluff left, but lacked the length in the flight feathers necessary to be airborne. It's so close, yet so far.

It took everything I had not to grab a shoe box and play mommy-birdy today, but I knew I didn't have the time. These things need to be fed so often, and I had to go to work. So I put it on the grass out of our patio. It immediately started pecking around at the ground and then snuggled into the grass. As long as the cats and ghetto urchins would leave it alone, it should be fine, I thought.

My dad used to raise pigeons, and I would bawl every time the flock would start pecking one of them. They would peck the head of the pigeon until it was dead - very gruesome. I now know this is likely a good thing they do to prevent the spread of disease and/or infirmity in the flock. But then, all I could see were bullies picking on someone smaller than they. My dad and mom always let me bring the likely disease ridden bird inside and nurse it back to health with a syringe and Malt-O-Meal. I am really glad they nurtured (put up with) this part of my personality as it was, and still is, a huge part of me.

I was bummed when I got home from work and couldn't find the baby bird. I looked all around. I even looked back in my patio and didn't see it. I resigned to the fact that it was gone and settled in to my nightly routine. I opened the sliding door to get some fresh air and let Cevi wander around outside. I didn't even get settled onto the couch before I heard flapping from the patio. I called Cevin and she obediently came right back in. Her pupils were huge with the excitement of what she had discovered though. I ran outside and closed the screen door behind me. Sure enough, it was the little robin. I am not sure how long it had been there. It camouflages so well with the leaves that it was likely there the entire time I was looking for it.

Night was settling in, and while the bird had nestled into the pile of leaves and looked quite comfortable, I knew it wasn't going to be a safe place for it. My pampered, never hunted for a meal in her life, prissy cat was even drooling at the screen door hoping I would let her have a go at it. It didn't stand a chance with the feral cats in the area.

I was contemplating what I could do. I knew what I wanted to do, but wanted to respect Dillon's feelings too. Not everyone appreciates a wild bird in the house. Luckily he's kind of a bleeding heart too. Not-so-long story not-so-short, he looked online and found a couple of ideas on what we could do with this bird. We decided to put it in a box overnight to keep it safe, and then call around tomorrow morning to see who will take it and raise her to maturity. I didn't think there was anyone who would take a plain ol' robin orphan, but Dillon assures me there are plenty of "nuts" like me who are willing to spend countless hours raising an ordinary bird. Yay! I just hope he's right, or I'll have to take the bird to work with me.

I tried to feed it a puree of Cevi food that I made tonight, but it didn't seem to want any. I think because it was night time. I would rub and tap its beak, but it would just close its eyes. So I am up at sunrise tomorrow to try to keep this little thing alive until I can find someone else to.

I just hope it eats, and I don't have to force its mouth open. Its is surprisingly not too bad with touch, but the second something is wrapped around its body, like my hand, it starts screaming. It's nerve racking.

Its little face is so funny to me. Its beak points down at either side so it looks like it is frowning all the time. It truly has a face only a mother could love - and I do. Ha! ;-P


Cerra Hawkins said...

I am having a hard time finding someone to take the baby robin. I decided the best thing for it would be to let it go and fend for itself. It seems to do pretty well outside if it would stop falling into my porch. I swear it's flying better than it was yesterday even.

sasha said...

poor baby. i think you're right about letting it go though. nature must take its course it seems. hopefully she will make it.

Cerra Hawkins said...

The bird is dead. I can't help but feel responsible. *sigh* Circle of life I guess...

Emily :) said...

Cerra.. you are so adorable. I love how much you love animals! I am so sorry it died! :( Love you!