Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Attempting to Save the Bird

I was happily playing badminton with The Boy tonight, when Hollywood and Bumblebee noticed a baby bird on the patio. We have had swallow nests in the rafters of our deck (which is directly above our patio) for a few years now.

I'm not really a bird fan. I mean I like their cheerful chirping in the mornings while I have a cup of coffee in my sun room or on my deck. So as a species (or I guess that would be genus or order or something, I'll have to ask The Husband), and from a distance, I'm ok with birds. But up close, they give me the heebie jeebies. I think it's because I found my brother's dead parakeet in the laundry hamper one time. Birds are just creepy. And the mama and papa swallows do these angry dive bombs when I try to go hang out my laundry, which isn't helping them win me over.

A baby bird is especially creepy. And not in that Alfred Hitchcock The Birds kind of creepy, but in a more subtle way. Why? Because it has sparse tufts of fuzz instead of feathers, and there's nothing but those hollow boned skeletons to them. But just like Jeffrey Dahmer probably was as an infant, it was still sort of cute, even with it's creepiness. (Ok, I'm not so comfortable with that analogy, but I'll keep it because I'm too drained from this experience to come up with a new one.) This little bird fell out of the nest and was floundering on the ground. He didn't appear to be hurt, and he kept opening his mouth, whether to make a sound, or to request food, I'm not certain.

The kids begged to help save him. Hollywood wanted to give him a worm and raise him on her own. At one point, Bumblebee excitedly hopped around by the bird, slipped and fell on her tushie, and landed a centimeter from the poor creature.

I didn' t know what to do, but the little sad bird struggling to open his mouth and flop around the patio even melted my solid bird-hating heart. I had Hollywood go get my latex gloves (the ones I should have been using to clean my toilets, but that isn't happening tonight.) I decided that if I wore gloves, my evil human scent wouldn't get on the bird, therefore making the mama and papa swallows abandon the nest when I dropped him back in with his brothers and sisters.

I squeamishly scooped the little guy up in my gloved hands, and was TOTALLY unprepared for it's clawing and grasping reaction. I almost threw the bird across the yard at that point, but all three of my kids were watching me with wide-eyed wonder as I saved this bird. Actually, that's not true. They were laughing at my girlish squeals while the bird clung to my finger with it's sticky little talony things. Ew, ew, ew.

I tried to lift him up and drop him into the nest, but his pesky brothers and sisters freaked me out by sticking their necks out and opening their mouths when I got close. So I had The Boy grab a slotted spoon from the kitchen to kind of drop him in the nest. You know, like you would if you were gently dropping a ball of dough into hot grease to make a donut? Yeah, that was the plan. Hollywood added a second level of safety by holding a badminton racquet under me.

But the slotted spoon was a mistake. Just when I thought we had the bird saved, he clung to the slots of the spoon and was suspended by one tiny little foot (claw?), upside down above the nest. Hollywood was still spotting me with the racquet, but the bird still bounced off the spoon, to the side of the nest, to the racquet, to the ground.

A moment of silence please.

The poor bird wasn't going to survive two falls from the nest. He was no longer flailing around the pavement, though he was breathing. It looked like he landed on his head. We didn't know what to do. I suggested that we put the bird in the yard, so that we could give some animal a good meal. "It's a circle of life thing." I explained.

"More like a circle of death." The Boy grumbled.

"We need to make a grave for it." Hollywood said.

So we did. We buried the poor little guy and the kids put a marker by his 'grave'.

But, my friends, that freaks me out even more, because that bird was still breathing when we buried him. How EVIL and MEAN are we? And what are mama and papa swallow going to do the next time I go outside to hang out my laundry?!


Swishy said...

I was going to say how sweet ... but WHAT? It was STILL BREATHING WHEN YOU BURIED HIM??? OMG, you are SO having the sequel of The Birds at your house!!!!


WebGal said...



Monnik said...

swishy, I KNOW!! Wasn't that horrible? But what else could I do? I wasn't going to break the tiny thing's neck or squash it or anything. I like to think that it took those last deep breaths peacefully, and floated off into birdie heaven when it's little lungs filled with soil.


Mom In Scrubs said...

Hopefully you don't have a replay of Pet Sematary on your hands soon.

The soil-crusted baby bird clawing its talon-y way across your back yard, pitifully peeping, searching...searching for the one who buried it alive....

Just kidding. What were you going to do, just kill it in front of your kids? That's pretty anti-hero.

Andrea said...

We're just going to pretend it was already dead when you buried it and ignore Mom in Scrubs comments. Though if we have nightmares, we know who to harrass. :)

I still sometimes have 'nightmares' about Pet Cemetary, though I love both the book and the movie.

krobzoo said...

I cannot beleive this story, the picture of the situation in my head. the bird, the spoon, the racket, the chaos. I am still laughing. But, then the poor little bird.

Jenster said...

I'm trying not to laugh because then that would make me evil, too. But I'm afraid I can't help it.

You're most likely right. The little birdie's last moments were much more pleasant than, say if he'd been eaten by a predator.

And the Pet Cemetary comment is hilarious in a totally creepy way.