The evening before last, Bill and I were enjoying a glass of wine in the backyard, quietly talking about our day. Suddenly, from somewhere very near to where I was sitting came a distinct CHIRP. Somewhere on the ground, someplace from which there should be no CHIRPS. Perhaps I heard wrong.
Nope. There was definitely a chirp coming from behind the loveseat. I peered under the seat and saw hidden way in the corner a tiny little baby bird – a house finch, I think, though it was hard to tell since it was all fuzzy gray feathers and yellow eyes. He (or she) was huddled against the house, quietly shivering, and occasionally letting out a soulful CHIRP.
Drat, I thought. This is the part about nature, and about having birds living in your backyard, that I heartily dislike. I suspected this little bird had fallen out of his nest and would die of starvation over the next day or so. Only the strongest survive, I reminded myself. That’s the way it’s meant to be.
It reminded me of a bird saga we had a couple of years ago at our house in Arizona. It was prior to our spending the entire winter in Arizona, so it was February and we had just arrived for a short stay. The day after we got there, I spotted a few little birds on the ground at the bottom of the tree in our front yard. One was dead, but a couple of them were walking around. I began calling my family and telling them they couldn’t stop by until I gave them the go-ahead because I didn’t want them bothering the baby birds. We learned from our neighbor that they had been watching mockingbirds build a nest, lay some eggs, and then watching the eggs hatch. A short time later, the mommy bird started kicking the birds out of the nest. It was time to learn the ways of the world. Some did, and some didn’t. Only the strongest survive.
But back to our little birdie.
I checked on the little fellow yesterday morning and he (or she) was still huddled against the house, but this time making no sound. I assumed the worst, and reminded myself to tell Bill to dispose of the little birdie corpse before the grandkids find him (or her). It made me very sad.
I was working on dinner last night and Bill was sitting outside reading. Suddenly he called me to the window and told me we wouldn’t be able to sit in our usual spot for our glass of wine. “Why?” I asked. “Because the little bird’s mom keeps flying to and from the tree with food for the baby bird,” Bill said.
Well, friends, nothing could have made me happier. I’m not ashamed to tell you that I actually teared up. The mommy bird had not forgotten about the baby, who was still alive. Perhaps he (or she) had fallen from the nest; perhaps Mommy had given him (or her) a little push. But she was not going to let her baby starve. Last evening we watched as the mother bird flew back and forth with dinner for her baby and I was very pleased….
….until last night, about 10 o’clock, when it began to rain. And then it rained harder. In fact, we got a good ol’ fashioned gullywasher. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it rain so hard. It quite literally came down in sheets of rain, and for a good half hour or so. The street in front of our house looked like the Nile River.
That doesn’t bode well for the little bird, I fear. But perhaps he (or she) will be one of the strongest who will survive. As Mylee would say, “Dum, dum, duuuuuum.” We shall see.
As an aside, in the middle of the storm, likely because of the rain, my car (which I had left out of the garage) began sounding its alarm. That made all of the neighbors really happy. As I scrambled for my car keys, it suddenly stopped as quickly as it had begun. All was well. Until 3 o’clock, when it happened again. So in the middle of the night, I ran downstairs to the garage, moved things around so my car would fit, and moved my car into the garage and tried to think just how I was going to make it up to my neighbors. Sigh.