My 11 year old daughter was out walking the dog Saturday when they stumbled on 2 tiny baby birds on the ground. One had been dead long enough to be invaded by ants, but one was still alive. She came running in to ask my permission to “save” the live baby. My rational mind knows that: A) the bird’s chances of survival with our intervention were slim at best, and B) technically we would need a wildlife license to even attempt to save the bird. My “daddy” brain, however, was finding it difficult to explain these facts to a soft hearted 11 year old who knew full well the bird would certainly die without help. So we adopted the baby. I did explain that, even with the best care we could offer, the bird would likely die. It’s just tough to raise a baby - any baby - that’s been abandoned. I didn’t want my daughter to get her hopes too high, only to be crushed when the little critter expired.
My daughter prepared a nest inside a small animal carrier, put the baby bird inside and hit the Net to find out how to care for it. Per the instructions she found, she warmed a bottle of water for the bird to snuggle against. It promptly snuggeled up to the warmth. She mixed some baby bird food (crushed dry dog food and water combined to a paste consistency), put the food into a syringe and tried to feed the bird. To my absolute amazement the bird ate. Not much, but it did eat. A few minutes later the bird ate again. It also began to move around a bit. Actually, flop around is probably a better description. But it was moving, which I took as another good sign. Later that evening my daughter yelled “Oh, gross!”. Turns out that baby birds make a pretty big show out of pooping. I’m no vet, but I figure that if food goes in one end and eventually comes out the other then at least some things are working properly. Another good sign. My daughter turned down an invite to spend the night with a friend so she could stay home and care for the baby. Yet another good sign.
The next morning my daughter was awakened at 7AM by a peeping fuzzball demanding to be fed. The birdie had made it through the night. Another day spent feeding, rewarming the watter bottle and watching poop shows. And the bird lives on. Its eating more at a time now and eating often. I can’t believe it, wouldn’t have bet a nickle on it, but yet it lives. This morning as I left for work I heard the now familiar “feed me, feed me” peeping coming from my daughter’s room. To be perfectly honest, with each passing day that the bird lives make even MY hopes go up.
I know that, In the grand scheme of things, one more Blue Jay or one less doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. But I’m proud of my daughter for the effort she put forth on behalf of a baby bird. That’s the best sign yet.