Drop Waist

I found a little bird a few days ago.

The little guy had fallen or been pushed from his nest prematurely.  I’m not sure why I knew it was a “he,” but a “he” it was, at least in my mind.  He’d fallen behind the stand that holds our backyard hose.

We have lots of bird nests around our house and often during windy days, little birds fall, but they are usually already gone by the time we find them, or they are too little for us bumbling humans to help.

He was different.  He had feathers, his eyes were open, and when Michael gently picked him up and tried to find his nest, the little bird was calm, comforted.

I probably should have just let nature take it’s course.  His little foot seemed broken and some of his toes, talons, whatever they are called, were bent back, but he had spunk and he could stand.  When I used a tweezer to feed him, he opened his mouth wide and ate.

He grew fluffier and started flapping his new wings.  He chirped when he was hungry.  We kept him outside so he could hear the other birds, maybe even his family, somewhere.

By human standards, he seemed to recover from his fall.  I shredded paper, gave him a little pseudo-nest and fed him every half hour, just like Google said.  Every morning for a few days, I got up with Jack, watched the sunrise, and peered in as the little bird open his eyes.

It was really special.  He was saved and I pictured him flying off one day.  I visualized coming out one morning and his box being empty because he was strong enough to join the rest of the bird community that lives around our house.

Seeing him grow, get better, was hopeful and I made the mistake I often do, I became attached.

Saturday morning started out just the same.  Jack woke up far too early, we went outside, the sun rose in beautiful bursts of orange and I looked into the box for my new little friend.

He had died.

Slipped away sometime in the night, but not like I had envisioned.  He didn’t take that leap and sore out of the box, brave enough to go find his own bird family.  He was on his back, little wings not yet fully fluffed, and his broken foot, still broken.

I cried something crazy.  I was so sad, I still am, as silly as that sounds.  I started to wonder if I’d done the right thing trying to save him, would he have been better off if I’d just left him to die, let nature decide.  I’m sure I could have done things differently, maybe a different food, or a smaller box.  Maybe I should have tried harder to find his nest.  I’ll never know if I prolonged his pain because of my own need to change his fate.

Mother nature is hard on her creatures.  Most birds that stay in the nest, have a normal development, don’t even make it past a year.  Our little visitor, probably never stood a chance, but he landed at our home and I humanized him.  Convinced he was alone, scared, and cold.

I’m not even sure birds are capable of all of that thinking, but on the basest level, he fell and I had to try.

My thoughts from the laundry room.  Nestle In.

death hope nature

10 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Oh, Tracy, this brought tears to my eyes. At least you gave him some comfort when he was frightened and vulnerable and alone. Yes, birds are capable of all that thinking. They are smarter than we know. And he knew he was cared for. Bless you for giving him that.

    • I think they’re smarter than we know too. His little eyes were…sigh, it was such an experience and I honestly thought he was going to make it. Turns out everyone in my family knew it was going to end badly, but they were keeping it to themselves because I seemed, “so committed.” Haha.

      I’m going to hang on your words that he was in fact comforted and knew I cared. Thank you for your comments.

  2. It’s okay. We try, sometimes we fail, sometimes we succeed, at least by our standards. it isnt always a good thing to rear a baby bird, no matter how successful it seems. If you release them back into the wild, they have missed learning what they need to know to be a real grownup bird.
    There are also birds that just arent meant to survive. if his foot was broken he wouldnt have been able to perch on a branch, or forage. He may have also had some internal injuries as well. they’re pretty fragile inside, I found out.

    You tried, don’t go around beating yourself up over it–What I’ve learned to do if the bird is that small is put him in a safe place (or at least sheltered ) and if the mother is around, and is able, she will often feed her babies on the ground. And what happens, happens. Some species actually do boot the kids outta the nest, and finish their education by feeding them on the ground…

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