Monday, August 18, 2008

What I learned from a dying baby bird, Part 3

It's about time I finished the story of the baby bird.

Rocky was in a little plastic bowl on our kitchen counter. We fed him throughout the evening. Eventually Jeremy needed to leavefor a meeting at church. As he drove up the church driveway, Jeremy's headlights shone on a bird's nest on the ground near the road. He picked up the nest and brought it home. We settled Rocky in the nest, where he seemed a little more comfortable, and put a heating pad over him.

Our neighbor never gave us the number for the vet who helps baby birds, so I started trying to find it online. I didn't find the number, but I learned it is illegal to keep wildlife in our state. I also found a few phone numbers for local wildlife rehabilitators, along with information on how to care for orphaned baby birds. What I read made me nervous, because we had already made a few mistakes.

Jeremy and I checked on Rocky throughout the night and called one of the rehabilitators first thing in the morning. The woman directed me to a vet clinic in the same town where Jeremy works. He took the bird to the clinic, and the women at the front desk were amazed the Rocky had survived so long alone. They never had one so young survive without one or more siblings to help it keep warm. The vet took one look at our little bird and immediately took him to a warmer. She said if he lived, he would go to a wildlife rehabilitator the next day.

He lived. The clinic put us in touch with the rehabilitator so we could check up on Rocky, who turned out to be a sparrow. He ate, grew, and one day, flew away.

And what did I learn from this little baby bird? I think it can all be summed up in the name of the tiny town where that rehabilitator lives and works ... Hope.

J.D.'s Second Birthday

Thursday, June 26, 2008

First Teeth Lost

Ali lost two teeth just a few weeks after turning five. Jeremy and I were out of town and missed the drama, but we do have a cute picture to commemorate the milestone.

Ali's 5th Birthday in Black & White

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What I learned from a dying baby bird, Part 2

"If the birds are not on the back porch, Mommy, I'll know their mommy found them and took them back to their nest," Ali said. I kept looking for a chance to sneak outside and move the birds but never found one.

Early in the afternoon, Jeremy came through the front door. He usually comes home after 6:30 pm.on Mondays, so we were surprised to see him. He explained that he had an unusual schedule that day. I secretly asked him to move the baby birds from the back porch.

A few minutes later he called for me. "Can you bring me something to put this bird in? It's alive."

"Please," I begged, "just let it go. There's nothing we can do for it." But, just like his daughter, Jeremy was determined to do something. He brought the bird into the kitchen. I shuddered and refused to look at it. Soon he and the kids were digging in the flower bed outside our front door for worms to feed the bird. I stayed inside and cried.

When our neighbor walked by, Ali told her about the bird. The woman said she had recently found a baby bird in our parking lot. A vet told her to feed the bird soggy dog food every 20 minutes, keep it warm with a heating pad all night, and bring it to the clinic the next day. The vet then kept the bird until it could survive on its own in the wild.

A few minutes later, our neighbor was at our door with some dog food. She promised to get us the phone number for the vet as soon as she could. Then she drove out of our parking lot.

Meanwhile, Jeremy had fed the bird some little pieces of earthworm. The tiny bird, eyes still closed, opened his beak wide when the worm touched it. Then he cheeped. Jeremy named him Rocky, since he was clearly a fighter.

Over the next several hours, we fed Rocky, listened to him chirp, and watched him breathe. I started to believe he might survive. But our neighbor still was not home and still had not called with that vet's phone number. Will she remember? I wondered. Or will Rocky die in our house tonight?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What I learned from a dying baby bird, Part 1

Three tiny baby birds fell just beyond the threshold of our back door Monday morning. Ali saw them first. One lay motionless in the dirt, covered with ants. The other two handed landed on our concrete patio. Their eyes were shut, and they had no feathers, but under their translucent skin we could see their lungs bulging in and out. They were alive

Ali immediately began covering the birds with leaves and talking to them. I looked for a nest nearby but could find nothing. I remembered the day my siblings and I had found a nest of baby birds on the ground; we tried to help, but all the babies died during the night. Hopeless, I gathered my own babies and took them inside. The boys cooperated, but Ali cried. "We can't leave the birds, Mommy. I can help them! I can make a nest. I can catch some worms in my worm trapper to feed them. I know I can help them!"

Through my own tears I tried to explain there was nothing we could do. "Baby birds can't live without a mother." We talked about Luke 12:6-7 and asked God to help the birds. Then Ali called her daddy to tell him the sad story and ask what we should do. He tried to comfort her and then tried to comfort me. We hung up the phone and attempted to go on with the day.

Why? I kept wondering. Why does something so sad have to land on our back porch? I'm already overwhelmed with dishes and laundry and meals and weeds and emails and errands and four little people who need my constant attention and affection. Why add this?

Before I expected one, an answer would come.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ali's Fifth Birthday: Breakfast in Bed

She asked for a princess sleeping bag, but her hero-daddy found a great deal on a complete princess camping set - sleeping bag, back pack, water bottle, compass, and child-size tent. Then my sister Kristen surprised Ali with a china doll. Thanks, Kristen, for capturing Ali's delight with both gifts!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Baby Celebration

Some pictures taken when Jonah was born that I never got around to posting, including hospital visitors, a fabulous carrot cake made by my brother Kyle, and dress up fun at Grandma and Grandpa's house ...