Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nature Encounters

Even here in the wilds of suburbia we still have occasional encounters with nature. Yesterday was one such day. The Middle Child’s Brownie troop was here yesterday afternoon and the girls chose to play an outdoor game to end the meeting. Most of the girls had already left when The Middle Child, The Youngest, and one of the Brownies came running over to me saying there was a baby bird in the lake! I went over to see and sure enough, there was the cutest little baby bird perched on a reed about a foot from the shore. A rescue was called for! The Eldest ran to get our pool net and fished him (or her) out; he hopped right on the edge and was very cooperative. We took him to our backyard; my thinking was give him a safe place to dry out then see if he would fly away. We put the net, with the bird still on it, across the picnic table. He hopped off, then fluttered onto a planter on the picnic bench, then half fluttered/half fell onto the ground under the table. From there he hopped over to me, a couple of feet away from the table, and JUMPED ONTO MY LEG!!! Yes, he really did! He was perched at the top of my ankle sock leaning against my leg, probably for warmth. He seemed perfectly content to just hang out there while we took pictures and tried to figure out what to do. I knew from previous bird rescues to fix up a shoe box with a heating pad underneath (half on, half off the heating pad so it doesn’t get too hot) and holes in the lid so we got that ready for him. The kids were all clamoring to touch him but I wouldn’t let them; I was worried it would scare him to death. I had to get him off my leg, though, so I managed to get him to perch on my finger. He was so tame, and did I mention the cuteness thing? The Eldest said he was so cute it hurt, and I think that’s a pretty accurate summation. I put him in the box and he fluttered up to perch on the edge. The Brownies all having left by this point, I left The Eldest to watch him while I looked up the local wildlife rescue facility. I told them we had an abandoned baby bird that looked to me like a kingfisher and they said to bring him on down. The Eldest said he was still perched on the edge so I told her to gently get him in the box so we could put the lid on, so she tried. He very obligingly hopped on her finger, but then wouldn’t get off and go in the box! Instead of going from her finger to the box, he went further up onto her hand. She was melting into a little puddle from the cuteness factor, but we finally managed to work together and got him gently inside the box and put the lid on. We drove out to the rescue center, missing soccer practice for The Youngest, and took the bird in. It was kind of anti-climatic from there on out; the guy peeked in the box and whisked the bird away, and that was that. He came back out and told us it wasn’t a kingfisher, but he looked it up to figure it out for us and concluded we had a cerulean warbler. (Boy, was I WAY off! But we have kingfishers around here, and the beak, and it was a baby and all…) We asked how they would take care of the bird and he said they have special baby bird food they will feed him with a dropper, they’ll give him medicine, and they’ll keep him in a special incubator to keep him just the right temperature. They also said we could call and check on him after 24 hours, which we’ll do later today. He said the bird was definitely injured or he would have flown away, so we did the right thing. It was a fascinating experience; I’m so thankful I could show my children how we should all take care of nature and other living creatures, and I'm thankful we were able to give the little bird a chance to recover. The Youngest says he wants to go out looking for more baby birds today!


Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

What a wonderful story. The picture of the bird reminded me of something I witnessed once. It was snowing great big snowflakes! I looked out our windows and saw a tiny bird huddled nearby. While I watched an enormous snowflake plopped squarely on his head. He looked very much like your little bird.


Kevin said...

A Cerulean in Weston would be news as they don't breed this far south. This little guy is most likely a Yellow Rumped Warbler who has grown his butterbutt yet.

Kim said...

Update: I called the rescue center today and found out our sweet little bird passed away, which is so very sad. It also turns out the ID was incorrect; he was a far more common blue-gray gnatcatcher. Here's the link to the Wikipedia entry: I haven't told the little ones yet; they are going to be so upset. At least we know we tried everything we could possibly do and got him to people with the skills to make him comfortable. If nothing else, he was warm and hydrated when he died .

To Shari:
Thanks for the comment! I can just picture that bird with the snowflake on its head. :)

Melinda said...

What a great story and the pic of the little bird on the show is great!