Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To Save a Mockingbird

High adventure at home today. LR is still home sick from school. His ear infection was followed by the antibiotic giving him severe diarrhea. I haven't had this much fun since he was a three-month-old poop machine. He's now been home for more than a week, but he's handling it just fine. He's not at all stir-crazy. Not a bit. Nope. Me neither.

So the highlight of our day was the attempted rescue of a baby mockingbird. I found him sitting on the ground near our front steps, occasionally making a highly motivated, but ineffectual, attempt at flying. His mommy or daddy (sorry, I can't tell which) was hopping from bush to bush screaming loudly and incessantly. Needless to say, this accomplished nothing other than drawing attention to the baby's predicament.

After ten minutes of this I decided to step in. I was able to catch and pick up the baby within thirty seconds, which gave me a pretty good idea how well he would fare with the neighborhood cat. I had LR get me a box, which I lined with a towel and the baby didn't seem all that upset, given his condition and the fact that he was now in a house with a small child. I then spent the next thirty minutes online trying to find someplace safe to bring him or at least for someone to give me some good advice.

I finally gave up and did what I should have done at the beginning. I called the local SPCA and simply asked them who I should call. I called all three numbers they gave me and sat down to wait. An hour and a half later, I decided that I should try and feed him if he was going to be a guest in my home for this long a period of time; baby birds should be eating once an hour or sometimes more.

This time, I quickly found some useful info although it wasn't what I had started out looking for. I checked with five different sites regarding the care of wild baby birds and all of them said the same thing: the bird that I had was a fledgling rather than a nestling (he was fully feathered and could hop) and the correct thing to do was to bring him back outside and leave him in a bush if his parents were still alive. Apparently, that thing we've always been told about birds not caring for their young if they smell like humans is simply untrue.

So I took the poor thing back out and tried my best. All of my attempts to put him into two different small trees and a large bush ended the same way. He clung to the branch I put him on and then very deliberately jumped to the ground, no matter how high up he was. I decided to stop trying this before he injured himself. In the end, I left him outside near a bush and hoped for the best. The one call-back I've since received (six hours later) told me that this was essentially the right thing to do and either his parents will get him back up into a tree or they won't. Such is life in the big cruel world.

And our life is currently such that this constituted major excitement for the day. I think we both need to get out of the house. Now.

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