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Friday, May 28, 2010

I discovered adoption doesn't always work when you step outside your species. Maybe it works hear about the dog who adopts an orangutan. Or the hippo who adopts the tortoise...The animal world is a crazy place. They seem to blend seamlessly.....

But that wasn't my experience......

When last we met I was trying to find someone, anyone, to help me with the 5 baby birds that were suddenly my responsibility. I did everything everyone suggested, I waited for the mother to return...she didn't. I called the local bird sanctuary....they were useless. They practically screamed into the phone....No! We do not know what to do, and No! We couldn't possibly give you any advice.

I hope they don't need any donations in the future. And at my first opportunity I will expose them for the impostors they are...sanctuary indeed.

My dear neighbor Cris told me to feed them meal worms. Meal worms? I couldn't find meal worms, but Cris found them at Wal-Mart. Yikes...

After we bought the meal worms I just stared at them for awhile...they were disgusting. How do I get the worms from the Styrofoam cup to the bird mouths? The worms needed to be smaller than they were, so I crushed them up and used my tweezers to put it in their mouths. I discovered a few things, my gag reflex and baby birds do not like to be held. Well, duh, mother birds don't hold them. And, wow, baby birds aren't above being pushy when it comes to food.

So I fed them, a lot. And they ate, a lot. And often...real often.

I was now the surrogate mother to five starlings, which oh by the way, turned out to be sparrows... I spent a great deal of time thinking "I am going to go through all this bother and work and get attached, and then they will die", mainly because I am a human without the ability to regurgitate insects and they are, well ......birds.

What am I doing and what do I know about birds? The truth is I knew less about birds than I thought. Through the bird grapevine I found out that sparrows eat every ten minutes. And that they are fed by both a mother and a father. I had no idea the family dynamic was so in tact in the small-bird world. After being with them for a few days it made sense to me to have a kind of tag team approach to whole affair. It was exhausting!! And this bird couple had been quite prolific. Mother Sparrow laid 5 eggs and all 5 hatched....the rest of the nests on my porch are underachievers comparably speaking. There are 3 eggs and 2 eggs had to be this group that fell out of the tree in front of my door.

So there I was....doing all I could to keep these little birds alive. A friend (thank you Jan) lent me a bird cage, my husband attached a light to the cage.....everyone really tried.

All of our intentions were great....but one day 2 of them died and then the next day the rest of them died. I wasn't nearly as effective as I was hoping to be, and it was really sad.

The experience caused me to wonder why I cared so much. But then I saw it was simple, it was life...and protecting life is inherent in all of us. Nothing more profound than that.

I realized again that life is valuable, and for that I am grateful to have had the experience.


  1. But you'd druther leave it to Mother Nature next time - right? Thank you for caring! Your heart was in the right place.

  2. That's sad that they died, but you did your best, and I think it's wonderful that you tried so hard.


  3. What a sweet story. I'm sorry they didn't all live, you did you best! Smiles, Melinda G

  4. Matthew 10: 29-31
    29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
    30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
    31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

    Deuteronomy 22:6-7
    6 ¶ If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam (mother) sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:
    7 But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.

    (granted a little out of context, but still nice overall)

  5. I can imagine it was heart breaking to have them pass but you did all you knew to do. Sounds like you have some caring friends too. Kudos to you. Beautiful heart.

    I might just drop a couple of my kids off there and see how well you do with them.

  6. Oh Donna you sound so much like my husband. I wish you would go read an old post about this very thing on my blog:

    or you can just to my blog and look for May 8, 2008. It might help to listen to Circle of Life today :(( It's also on that post.

    My husband is a really good man and you have a heart just like his.

  7. Donna, No wonder your status message asked for help. First to feed starlings and now for post-trauma counseling. Mother Nature can be a cruel woman in spite of our best efforts.

    Love your blog; love your writing; love your well-intentioned heart!