Monday, June 08, 2009
Bits and Pieces from Today
I discovered a small fledgling in the back of our car today when I went out to, what else, retrieve the kids' shoes. I think by far the most likely scenario was one in which the bird got folded up in our stroller, left out for a few hours btwn the afternoon walk and the final load-up after our weekly Sunday dinner at my parents' house. They have lots of wrens.
If I had known at the time that it was a baby, I would have reacted differently. I placed calls to several different places: Fx County animal control and two Wildlife Federations in the area. Left messages everywhere but the County. I had a feeling that I should just wait for the Crazy Bird Lady to coach me (she was actually a lovely woman, the epithet was pre-conversation and shorthand for those people out there who love very specific types of animals and know everything about them. Wildlife Rehabilitationist is the formal title for these wonderful people. I wish I had waited for Nora, the area Songbird Rehabilitationist (as opposed to a Rehabilitationist for other types of birds).
The animal control lady came and frightened that tiny little bird out of my car and under it using her retractable baton. (I guess she and Andrew were on a similar wavelength; he wanted to use his plastic sword. Why is it that I could reject his suggestion but acquiese to her?) She had the air both of a brute and an expert. Maybe it was a combo of the gun and the "animal control" insignia on her uniform. The masculine authority with which she pronounced the bird perfectly fit and ready to just hop off to his business reassured me just enough to ignore by better judgment. "Just scatter that birdseed by it and it will be ok," s/he commanded from behind reflective sunglasses. So I did. The poor little thing just cowered and chirped his heart out. I took courage in the chirping; it showed he was strong.
It was all the more heartbreaking when Nora called and explained that the chirping was a desperate attempt to call to his mother. She was able to determine over the phone by my description and the sound of the chirp that the bird was a wren and a baby. The lack of tail that I had worried was a sign of injury was actually a sign of babyhood and lack of ability to fly. Worst, it is also a sign that he is not yet ready to feed himself, either. His chirping was a cry of hunger.
If you find a baby wren, they can be feed watermelon, peeled grapes or blueberries. Hold the fruit on a toothpick over the bird's mouth. Never attempt to give water, as you will drown the poor thing. Just call me and I'll get you in touch with Nora.
The birdseed was worthless; it would be like putting a cup of milk in front of a day old baby and expecting him to drink. The thing to do was to catch him and bring him back to my parents' house where his mother could find him. But as she explained this, the bird flew three feet away onto a low branch of a tree, which he then hopped up and up and up until I couldnt see him anymore. A few hours later I didnt even hear his chirps any longer. The babies need to eat every hour.
The worst part is that he almost beat all the odds. He survived being inside a stroller as it was folded up. He made it through the night in the car in the summer. He even hopped into the car of a person who was ready to call anyone and do anything necessary to help the bird. I even had him in a box at one point and was going to return him to McLean. But I listened to the wrong person. It is worse than the nest full of little birds that feel down onto our patio, our gruesome Sunday morning discovery.
Andrew went on a safari to find the bird, bringing along his little "binoculars!" (two toilet paper rolls glued together).
At dinner, I told the boys about the canker sore on the left side of my mouth and the cut on the right inhibiting my ability to eat. Will insisted that I had gum and was jealous. Andrew pitied me. "Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that!" Such genuine concern from the boy who often tells me, in all sincerity, that he prefers his father.
I have had a few sweet occassions lately to hear my own words come back to me from Andrew's mouth, like yesterday on our walk (the Iceberg stroller growing in stature, grace and hue to meet our poor Titanic wren) when Andrew took Will's hand and said, "Oh look what I found! A little cute baby hand!"
It makes up for Will throwing things and then shouting, "damaged!", reminding me of my attempts to cover for an instance of cursing (the stroller fell down the steps of our front stoop with 12 month Will strapped inside!) and Andrew seizing upon this new exclamation repeatedly. Telling him that I said "damaged" was the best I could think of to remedy my foul-mouth toddler. When did Will pick up on this? I am just glad he picked up on the red herring word.
Andrew grilled me over the nature of God and the creation of man as he ate his Scooby Macaroni and occassionally demanded if a given shape were the Mystery Van. I could never give a noncommital response. Even though I often don't know an answer, and want to build a reputation for unflinching truthfulness with him, he detects evasion in my "It looks like it is" and challenges again, "But is it? Is it?" at an increasing decible until I just lie and agree and promise and reassure.
"How did God make our bodies?" I try to answer. "How do people make bodies?" He immediately follows it up with some hypothesis of God pouring water on a magic table to create people. Is that from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? "I just learned it myself."
"Can God destroy people?"
Gasp of air and look of fear combined with elation, "So He is dangerous!" His eyes are dancing with excitement! Will starts talking about King Kong. Is that what the boys think God is like???
"He can, but He usually doesn't." Wondering if I am preaching false doctrine.
"I belive that Jesus is real."
I just felt grateful we take him to Church every week.
And grateful that he is aware of even the sparrow falling from the sky.