This weekend as we strolled through an outdoor trailer salesfloor, my son spotted a struggling bird. Tiny, sweet, and obviously distressed, it spun in circles on the hard stone, desperately trying to gain control. Wings flapping and body twisting, we watched, all five of us with furrowed brows.
|Riding home, keeping careful watch…|
My hubby, always the practical one, pulled us along, urging, “there’s nothing we can do”. But our children just stooped and stared, deeply concerned for this helpless creature. I sat on the side of a trailer step and watched. The bird’s neck was twisted – badly. To most, it would have looked like a hopeless situation – but I saw the “what if” in my son’s eyes. I knew what we had to do. I told a bewildered hubby we were taking ‘him’ home.
After the kind staff handed me and old box with a rag in it, our six-year-old bravely and easily picked up our new birdie friend and placed him gently down. We drove home with the bird in tow as I wondered what on earth we were doing.
Once I got a real good look at him (or her?), I realized his neck must have been either broken or severely injured. His head had a huge cut/scar on it and he could barely lift his head upright. Instead, it hung completely upside down when it tried to stand up.
I had little hope, but begged for some of what my kids had in their eyes.
I braved my fears (I truly don’t like birds much), and when we got him to our kitchen, I picked the poor thing up. He happily drank from a siringe (tiny bits at a time) and we wrapped him up snug and put him ‘to bed’.
|Online bird sites suggested wrapping like this to help him feel safe. It worked, he slept!|
Laying in bed that night I realized, sometimes, we do things that seem crazy for our children. I didn’t know the first thing about caring for a bird. I called every wildlife ‘rescue’ number I could find online and in the phonebook and the only ‘real’ response I got was from the local Wildlife Control Group who said if it’s ‘only’ a sparrow (which we thought it was), they’d simply ‘dispose’ of him, were they to pick him up. That sat heavy within me and I squeaked out, “Oh, then no thanks” to the gruff lady on the other end of the phone line.
My children were watching my every move on this journey. They watched when I had compassion and took the bird home, they watched as I carefully cared for it, they watched as I expressed that I truly ‘didn’t know’ what would happen but refused to let someone kill him just because he was sick. Children always watch – closer than we think. And, as I had already explained to my hubs on the way home with the bird, “I’m doing this for the kids – they need to know that we do as we say. God’s creatures are precious, we need to care for the ones who have no one. Even little birds under trailers.” He smiled and shook his head, like I knew he would.
We cared for the little guy for the past three days and this morning we saw huge improvements! Straighter neck, stronger stance, trying to fly! What a great feeling. I couldn’t believe this hopeless situation had seemed to turn around.
Then – misery. We had to go out for a short while, so I left the bird in his box outside. When we returned, he was gone. We searched all over the backyard and finally found him, lifeless inside a watering can. It seems he’d fluttered INTO the empty can (I still have no idea how he did this, considering the opening is incredibly small) and must have died from the extreme heat beating down on the dark green canister. We were all quiet and horribly saddened by what happened to our friend.
Tonight, I’m feeling a little down but also thankful. Thankful our children were able to experience the good feeling of helping a needy animal – especially a wild one. And thankful that they have a firm understanding of who we are as a family – we care for God’s creatures, and that surely includes little hurt birds with lesions, crooked necks, and missing feathers. Thankful the kids were able to bury their little friend with Daddy beside them, and understand the difficult lesson that life doesn’t last forever. Sad things happen. Lives are lost.
Thankful still, that they believe this simple truth – no matter how small the life, it is still LIFE.
So, tonight I thank God for our little friend and the strength I saw in him – and pray peace on his tiny, yet fierce birdie soul. 😉