There are many bird feeders, and bird baths in my yard. I love the birds that come all year to eat and chat and nest.
One of my favourite things to watch is the robins in the bird bath dancing their "happy dance". I've always loved robins, their return signals the arrival of spring, the growing light, the emergence of life. I love the way one or two will slyly follow me when I water, eyeing the spot where hose water meets earth, slipping into it (when I'm 'not' looking), playing in the splashing and then hunting for lunch and with sucess the quick stick legged rush away. This I find especially joyful. There are many reasons I won't spray my lawn, but the robins are a big one.
I happen to be the neighbourhood repository for all injured wild life (and the collector and burier of all found dead wildlife) - you know every neighbourhood has to have one of "those" moms -so, not only is my back yard full of life from chipmunks to cardinals, squirrels to goldfinchs (all expecting to be fed!), I also know where all the bodies are.
Yesterday my son come running home with 'that' look on his face and said I needed to "come right away". So much for the potluck curry I was making. He lead me to the bottom of tree where a baby robin was curled up. Alive, but injured and alone. My son and his friend had already named him (her? it was too early to tell) 'Chirpy'. Chirpy sat there mouth open, one good eye open looking at me. No robins came by to 'scare me off". We reguarded each other awhile, while my son ran off and dug for worms, and . . . I caved - I always cave. There are outdoor cats in the neighourhood, No one was getting upset about me leaning over him. How could I leave him there? I decided. I scooped up Chirpy to take to my favourite pet store, that had taken care of an orphaned robin before. Now if you want fun and adventure try holding a baby robin while driving (we tried having my son hold Chirpy, but he -Chirpy- had an impressive tantrum). Add to this listening to my 11yr old son talk non-stop, and giving 'very-helpful' advice and recounting the story over and over (and over) again.
At the store the "guy who takes care of orphaned birds" was away, so 15minutes later I found myself leaving the store with a borrowed cage, baby bird food (you do NOT want to know), eye droppers and instructions to feed every 2 hours. Really it wasn't much different than trying to get baby food into a 4month old baby.
In the morning, despite my best efforts, Chirpy was curled up at the bottom of the cage, dead.
I never saw a wild thingD H Lawrence (1885-1930)
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.
Of course, this doesn't help me from feeling sorry for the little bird whose tiny body was added to the many under walking stones and plants in my garden.
I don't always have the best success rate.
I took a chipmunk,
and held it’s
tiny soul -
within my hands;
stopped, watched til
quiet breathing settled into
calm - and
we sat upon -
my porch listening
till breathing ceased -
then I sat alone.
after I had buried
his tiny soul;
and come inside
my daughter asked me
how he was -
and, I pointed to the
chipmunk in the feeder.
because, some days
I am a liar.