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.