Every spring we have found unfortunate baby birds, that have been pushed out of the nest too early, in our backyard.
Two years ago we were able to save one that had fallen in our pond before it was fillled. We dried him in a towel and kept him warm. On the advice of a vet, we put him in a dark spot (in the kids playhouse) to settle down. The most memorable moment was when I went in to check on it. The little bird hopped onto my finger and let me carry it out of the playhouse. Once we were back in the open air, it looked at me, then looked up into the tree, looked back at me and sang a little song, then flew off into the tree. It was as though it was saying thank you.
So far this year, we have found two eggs. (sorry – forgot to take pictures) One was a Robin’s egg, the other a Blue Jay. We have burried one baby bird, too young to figure out what it was.
Yesterday, however, was different. Dear daddy had the reaction that I would have had before we homeschooled. In the pond, now full and running, was a full grown Grackle, drowned. Dear dad’s initial reaction was “don’t touch it” and “you’ll have to wash your hands”, to which I said ‘yep’.
I pulled the bird out, and the girls and I studied it! When else can you get a chance to see the intricate details on a bird? Without it moving? (no worries – I only held it by its claw, and touched the rest with a stick – and washed my hands really well after).
We made mental notes on how the claws were just like kitten claws; how the legs looked like overlaying, interlocking scales; how the shape of the feathers were different on each part of its body; and the colouring of the feathers and beak. Also made note as to what happens when drowning occurs (anatomy class).
By the time we were done, dear dad was in there with us. To think, two years ago I probably would have been “dont touch”, and “get rid of it”. But then again, I was always the bug and creature catcher as a kid. Maybe I would have looked at the dead bird, but I know I would never have looked at it as we did yesterday!