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Little Sparrow


Last night, after a “particularly grueling day at the office” (read: being unable to determine a) the source of that smell and 2) why I felt like crying – I’d suppose the two were related), The Guy on my Couch and I took the kids out to the backyard, where they immediately began squalling about who got to swing on the swing. Apparently I need an additional swing since *all* of them are now able to swing by themselves; well, that or a kid-sized muzzle – I can’t be sure.

I sat down on my lawn chair after carefully inspecting it for earwigs (it’s Earwig Time in Chicago. I’d say we should throw a block party or at least dance to some funky fresh beats, but I have a phobia of earwigs, so I’d probably be hiding somewhere earwig-proofed), and prepared myself for some Tiny Motherfucking Tower.

Some time between “Mom, why can’t we fill up the pooooooool?” and “Mooooom, can we make cuppity-cakes so I can eat them?” the kids stopped, looked around, and began to shout, “MOM, MOM, MOM” as they piled off the swing set toward what appeared to be a moving bundle of feathers.

Hop, hop, hop, went The Baby Birdie. He hopped is ass right on over to me, and I felt my heart sink. Shit. A baby bird. I’m gonna have to call a wildlife rescue and shit, none of them are open.

I popped inside as The Guy on the Couch and the kids guarded the baby birdie (who I’d named Wilber) to call around to see what kinds of wildlife rehab facilities were around and/or open. Yes, apparently wildlife get addicted to drugs and have to go to rehab, too. Who the fuck knew?

Anyway, 5:30 in Chicago means “fuck off I’m outta here so I can sit in gridlock traffic,” so everywhere I called was not open, their numbers out of service, or, in the case of one particularly memorable instance, answered by a very angry Hispanic woman, who yelled at me in Spanish – the only words I understood were “puta” and “malo.”

I locked my cats, who were intently circling the back door, more awake and alert than I’d ever seen those fat bastards, in the bathroom and grabbed the nearest shoebox. Back to the yard I went, ready to rehab the FUCK outta that birdie. We put him in a box and took the box into the locked upstairs bathroom, waiting for the wildlife rehab to open. I knew I couldn’t live with myself if Wilbur was reduced to a carcass the next morning by the family of raccoons that live somewhere in the area, all of whom I’ve named “Walter.”

Kinda like George Foreman, but Walter.

Of course, having an unfamiliar delicious scent in the house, my cats were all, “where the fuck is that bird?” and “I smell bird, you malo puta.” In this way, I learned that Chloe, my brain-damaged cat (who you may recall from my tips for photoblogging post) is actually the smartest of them all. Goes to show you never can tell.

I happened to walk past the backyard patio on my way to watch some Numb3rs where I noted the two doves that live in my tilted pine tree, hovering above the patio area, clearly looking for something.

Their baby. The Mom and Dad were looking for their Wilbur.

My heart grew about 10,384 sizes.

I decided we’d take our chances and let Wilbur out to his family. I didn’t particularly relish being the home wrecker to a nest of birds who have the capacity to poo on my head every time I walk outside, and I knew if I went to a wildlife rehab, I’d walk out with three dogs and an abandoned grey parrot because that’s the way I roll*.

It took a couple of minutes of Wilbur sitting underneath my deck table before he realized that the shoe box was, in fact, gone, and that he was now, in fact, back outside. Mommy and Daddy bird sat on the fence nearby watching, as Wilbur made his way back to the tree; his tree, waddling and doing this weird thing with his neck that’s probably the sign of bird flu or something else sinister-sounding.

The last I saw him, he was sitting on the low branches of the pine tree, his mother about 2 feet above him, as she watched Wilbur climb back up toward home.

It took him some time, and a couple of falls back to the ground, but he made it home.

At last.

And as for me, I’m just glad I didn’t have to perform An Intervention with Wilbur – falling out of the tree was a wake-up call for him.

(I can’t wait to watch him grow)

(and if I go out back and he’s dead, I’ll never forgive myself)


11 Comments to

“Little Sparrow”

  1. On June 28th, 2012 at 11:50 am Amber Says:

    You did the right thing!

    Before I squeezed out a baby, I actually worked for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County at one of the nature centers (River Trail, REPRESENT!). We get hundreds of calls a year about all kinds of baby/injured animals. There’s that myth that birds won’t take back their young if they smell like a person. Complete BS.

    If you ever find more injured/baby animals, give a call to any nature center. They can’t take in any animals, it is against their rules, but they all have a HUGE book of ALL the rehab facilities in and around the Chicago area. At least, River Trail did. They’ll hook you up with info and phone numbers and whatever else they can do to help. But regardless, you totally did the right thing!

  2. On June 28th, 2012 at 12:08 pm Frubs Says:

    Oh! So glad Wilbur got back to his family and hope the little guy does ok. I think you did exactly the right thing in getting him back to his parents, though is such a difficult call if they’re injured.

    I’ve had something similar happen twice. Once when visiting my folks who live in the country, a pheasant chick waddled up to me and my boyfriend, like…”Mommy?” No, kid, we are not your mommy :/ We were on a road (albeit a quiet country one) and I knew not what to do, so I called my mommy :p She walked up to us with some gloves on and chucked it back into the field it emerged from, saying the mother was likely to find it again if we gave them some space.

    I really hope it did and wasn’t eaten by a bird of prey or a fox or something, which I know is perfectly natural, but… it was SO. CUTE. and really did look like it was turning to us for help when something so little and helpless wandered trustingly up to us. :/ < it looked a lot like that

    Another time someone bought an injured baby bird into the charity shop I volunteer at…it was so little it didn't even have any feathers and it was bleeding…it was still alive as you could see it's body rising and falling with breathing. I can't drive so it was a bit of an OFUCK moment and I felt very helpless, then I felt, fuck this, I CANNOT let this little thing die without doing SOMETHING…

    So I called my boyfriend, who fortunately works shifts and happened to be free, and asked him to take the bird to a wildlife hospital in the next county (which I only knew of because I used to live in the area and volunteered there) – he did, very panicky that it would die en route so I think he might have taken some liberties with the speed limit.

    They took the bird in, and gave us a number to call – apparently it would need feeding on a drip in 15 minute intervals and would need to be in an incubator. When I called later on they said it was a blackbird chick, and was recovering well and had been put with some other blackbirds 🙂 I hope it was released back into the wild. < it looked a lot like that

  3. On June 28th, 2012 at 2:14 pm Pete In Az Says:

    Um…. Do you know what they sell on that website (frozendirect)?

    And… around here the quail have hatched out and there is one pair with nine of those animated fur-balls. It’s fun to watch them, they’re like a group of kinder-gardeners playing soccer. They would be pecking at the ground, then, as a group they would race over to another area and start pecking, then they would race back to near the first area… etc…

  4. On June 28th, 2012 at 3:31 pm Frubs Says:

    Uh…I did a google image search, so probably not…
    Er. yeah…frozen chicks. that was a bit of a massive ironic fail right there wasn’t it -.-;; I think I just failed the internets.

    my mum was scything down big weeds in a walled garden once and scared the mummy pheasant away by nearly cutting it’s head off (accidentally!) she didn’t come back to to the eggs, so my mum gave then to one of our hens to raise – (which she did brilliantly, not caring they weren’t chickens) and they all hatched out as you describe – animated furballs 🙂

    only problem was, when it was time to leave the nest they were a bit reluctant!

  5. On June 28th, 2012 at 1:50 pm Joannie Says:

    Hey Becky,
    I, too, would leave the refuge with a menagerie of sad puppies and possibly a mangy camel, so I’m glad Wilbur’s parents returned. I, personally, think birds are kind of disgusting and probably would have let your fat kitties fight over him, but I think it’s cool how you didn’t let your children witness such carnage.

    I have inconsistently (I have a two year old) read your blog for years, and I really dig it. You’re raunchy sweet, funny, and darn talented, girl. I just want to encourage you, as a mom who really needs to get the band back together (and my waistline, PS), that you pretty much rock.

  6. On June 29th, 2012 at 11:51 am Christene Says:

    Awww…. best story ever 🙂

  7. On June 30th, 2012 at 12:54 am shrink on the couch Says:

    I think Wilbur is gonna live a long, happy and grateful life. Hope he visits you often.

  8. On June 30th, 2012 at 6:29 am Sherry Says:

    You did the right thing. Good for you!

  9. On June 30th, 2012 at 10:51 pm Grace Says:

    Awww! Helping wild creatures is such a fulfilling thing! Glad little Wilbur made his way back to his Mommy & Daddy.

    Life would be eighty trillion times better if there were no earwigs in it. {shivers}

  10. On July 2nd, 2012 at 2:21 pm Ami Says:

    You totally did the right thing. Wilbur is at the groundling phase (which is crazy dangerous) b/c they get enough feathers they think they can try chit but they don’t so much succeed. I’m glad you found Mommy and Daddy and got him back to them. Hopefully they’ll keep him safe. *hugs*

  11. On July 3rd, 2012 at 8:07 am Wombat Central Says:

    We had house sparrows nesting in our awning for about six years running, and invariably one featherless blob would fall out of the nest each year. I’d send my huz out there (with gloves-avian flu! Avian flu!) to scoop up the critter and put it back in the nest.

    This year we were totally taken with the Red-Tail Hawk babies on Cornell’s bird cam. I was soooo glad none of them fell from their very lofty perch. Now there’s two nests of Ospreys to watch:

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