It’s that time a year when baby bunnies and baby birds are venturing out. Today I was driving through a neighborhood and saw a little bird in the middle of the street flapping its wings. I thought it was hurt until I got closer and realized it was probably just in the middle of flying lessons. I was sure there was a momma bird sitting in a tree overhead chirping out flight instructions.
I learned the hard way not to get involved with this procedure. Once, I found a similarly aged little fellow flapping around in my yard. I immediately called the local bird sanctuary and they gave me instructions about how to get the baby bird in a paper sack without touching it. I gathered up all of the supplies necessary to save the bird and went back out into the yard. It was about this time the lady on the phone cautioned me that at that time of year, a lot of birds are learning to fly and there was probably a momma bird nearby keeping an eye on her baby.
Really? Maybe you should have lead with that.
I left the bird alone and went back into the house. I peeked out the window every so often to check on the bird. During one of the bird checks, I saw the baby bird flap its wings and take to the air – where it was joined by its momma – that apparently had been supervising the yard flopping activity.
That episode of “Shelly Saves Another Little Critter” was foremost in my mind when I saw the little bird in the road.
I didn’t want to stress out the little bird any more than it already seemed to be so I slowly drove past him. I thought about stopping to help him out of the street but I didn’t have a paper bag and I was confident the momma bird was nearby and would not be happy with me for messing with her baby.
As I was watching in my rearview mirror with excitement to see the baby bird take flight, a large utility truck turned onto the street and was barreling towards the little bird. The little bird was flapping its wings ~ trying to move. It flapped and moved. The truck kept going. The bird flapped again and lifted itself off of the street. Then landed in the street.
For a second, I thought the truck’s wheels would straddle the bird. For a second.
I sat helplessly and watched the truck completely flatten the baby bird! Completely!
I just sat there in my car. I was mad at myself for not moving the bird out of the street. (That’s the last time I make that mistake.)
I just sat there. All of a sudden I was flooded with emotions. I wanted to cry. I wanted to call my friend, Jessica, who cries easily so we could cry together. I wanted to turn around and follow the truck and let the truck driver “have it.” (Husband, you are welcome that I restrained myself! I knew if I chased the utility truck driver and chewed him out for running over a bird he probably didn’t even see, my sanity would be questioned. You are welcome, Husband.)
I just sat there.
Then I questioned why I was sick to my stomach over a baby bird. A bird.
Now, I’m all about saving the animals. Ask my kids about how many times I’ve stopped the car to save a turtle crossing the road. I’ve tried to rescue baby bunnies. (Haven’t read that yet? You can do that here.) Once I rescued baby birds from under our boat. (You can read about that here.) I’ve rescued hummingbirds. And lizards. (And rescued a daughter from lizards.) But I don’t usually get emotional about the loss of an animal life.
I try to reserve that for the humans in my life. And my dogs. But mostly the humans.
So why the emotion? Somehow, the baby bird represented new life and new adventure and hope. And then because of one, big, stupid move, all of that was gone.
The momma built a nest for that baby bird’s egg, she (or he) sat on the baby bird’s egg and waited for new life to emerge. The baby bird’s “parents” took great care and concern to find food and deliver it straight to the mouth of the baby bird. In case you have ever wondered what happens to the poop from the baby birds – well, the “parents” carry it off! I’m not making that up! I’ve witnessed it! Gross!
The “parents” provided protection, warmth, food and comfort.
When it was time for the baby bird to leave the nest, they supervised the flight/fall. And then they watched from overhead, as the bird lay lifeless in the street.
I have three daughters all on the verge of big life changes. One became a first time mother four days ago. One is graduating from college and one is graduating from high school. They are all about to soar into new worlds.
And I am about to have an empty nest. I’m okay with that. But I will still worry about my little birdies.
My husband and I have sacrificed to give them shelter, and food and kept them warm in body and spirit. And there were times when we had to remove the “poop” in order to keep the nest clean.
We long for them to fly into their new adventures. We will be cheering them on. Encouraging them.
So that was the emotion. I’ve spent the majority of my life preparing my girls to fly on their own. I don’t want one, big, stupid move on their part or someone else’s to cause harm to body or spirit. To completely flatten them.
My job is done. Now I have to give it over to the Lord and let Him lead and comfort them.
Train a child in the way that he should go,
and when he is old, he will not turn from it. Provs 22:6
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are
walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4
So, carry on momma and daddy birds! Carry on, baby birds – but watch out for big, stupid things!
Can you relate? Comment with your “baby bird” or momma bird story.
Chuckling…even though I wasn’t chuckling, when the baby bird was flattened.
Mary Geisen says
This was a great way to start my day. I smiled, laughed and got some tears when I read your story. I also paused to reflect on my own two baby birds-my sons who are grown now and on their own. However, baby birds do come back to the nest because there is nothing like momma bird to provide comfort, advice or just a familiar home. Visiting you today from Wedded Wednesday. Have a blessed day!
Lana Smith says
Love your spirit, Shelly. . .and these wonderful “stories” that reflect that spirit!!