So, we found some baby birds…we cared for them. Renna loved them like pets, and she wanted to do a blog post. Keep in mind Renna is 8…so I will close this one out with a moral for her.
“One day we ran into a baby bird in the barn. It was on the floor so we got our dad and he put it back in its nest. That night, it jumped out…with it’s sibling. Our dad put them back in their nest. The next morning, they repeated, so we got a cardboard box. We covered the bottom in shredded paper towel, added straw, and put them in. We gave them friskies wet cat food pate. That day was Father’s Day, so we went to our cousins’ house for the Father’s Day grill and pool party. We took Nessa & Rico [yup, we named them] so we could feed them. They are always hungry!
“2 days later, Rico passed. But their favorite book is “Are You My Mother” by PD Eastman. We think Nessa and Rico’s mom is dead. We live near woods and have lots of pets. They are either starlings or barn swallows. We hope they are not starlings because they lay their eggs in other birds nests and make the other mom abandon her babies. And the starling will not take care of them either. 😦 “
This play by play is all true. We did our best to take care of and save baby birds. Lewis had even said, in years past, he would have just stepped on the damn things to put them out of their misery, but this farm life has changed us. We do the weirdest things for our animals. If they insist on sitting on eggs, we buy them some to make them happy. We rush bunnies to the emergency vet. I have personally cleaned baby chick bottoms and dried them with a blow dryer. I have cut bandaids to fixed splayed legs. I have snuck out under the cover of night to put antiseptic and dresses on my chickens missing feathers. I do not know what has happened to me. Who is this person who does such things? I have read about every weird chicken problem you could probably dream of and researched it until my eyes start crossing. We went to and paid for a family goat care class! If you had told me 15 years ago (even 5-10 really) that this would be my life I would have laughed at you and mused about some greystone in Chicago under the el where I was going to live.
So once we were sure they were abandoned and wouldn’t be ok alone, we scooped up these baby birds and brought them into our home. No kidding. In a box, in a cat carrier, in our laundry room. I read what to feed them. I read how often to feed them (it’s like every 30 minutes in case you’re wondering). I wondered if once they learned to fly they would come back to say hi.
Rico passed away after only 2 days. He was the one we found on his back, who could barely stand up, and ate very little. I like to think we made his last two days comfortable and it was better than being stepped on. I don’t know. I’m not a bird.
Nessa the bird was doing so well! She was getting so big and hopping around and making all sorts of noise. We would take her outside to get some fresh air and practice gliding. She was doing awesome! She had a steady diet of wet cat food and tong fed meal worms dipped in water. This was serious business.
Then one day, we ran out of the beef/chicken pate that she (assumed she…we never asked, we didn’t want to be rude) was eating. I felt like the mealworms weren’t satisfying to her, so I tried to feed her salmon pate that the cats LOVE.
Oh my god, I am fairly certain I killed a baby bird… She didn’t really like the salmon. She tried it once and looked at me like I had just insulted her and that I was possibly the stupidest person on the planet. She even rubbed her beak in the straw vigorously. So I put her back in the laundry room and fed the rest to the cats. She was quiet that night, but they always slept through the night. Renna found her the next morning…dead. And of course Renna found her. Of all the kids, Renna. Sweet attachment parenting expert Renna. Renna loves things before she even gets a chance to know them. She wept for days when the baby chick died. And now she found Nessa. She never finished her blog, I assume it was too hard on her gentle soul. And I am forever the jerk that probably killed a baby bird. “My mom is so mean, she kills baby birds for fun.” I can hear it now. Good thing she doesn’t go to school so she can’t tell all of her friends and teachers.
This is farm life. And it has been hard on Renna and on me. And I don’t know how real farmers who actually live off their animals do it. How do they detach from the pig or cow or meat bird? How do they feed it and watch it grow and then eat it? I am not a vegetarian. I enjoy the meat that comes from other people’s farms, but if I had to look Bessie the Cow in the eye, I wouldn’t be eating the hamburger made from her for dinner without at least a few tears and possibly an emotional disorder.
We have tried our best to be good animal caregivers. And although I kill baby birds, I hope all of our research and efforts have given our other animals a very happy life so far. And I hope one day Renna forgives me for that one damn can of salmon pate.