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paige van voorst, patron saint of birds and birdkind.

i mentioned last week that i chose not to mow over an injured bird, which then turned into an entire afternoon of babysitting this bird, and eventually taking it to a 'bird doctor,' and then almost dying in the woods as a result.  or maybe i didn't mention all of that...

as i was getting ready to mow, atticus came busting in the house, all in a panic because they'd found a bird in the grass and they didn't want me to mow over it.  'and it doesn't even seem scared of us at all, mom!'  sure enough, there was a very stationary bird laying in the middle of my yard, but it seemed coherent enough and, once we got it settled in a shoe box lined with an old baby towel, it was alert and would occasionally flap its wings, but couldn't fly.  my highly developed bird-health instincts told me it had a broken leg.

because it seemed like a nature study freebie for homeschool purposes, we used our audubon field guide to help identify the species (difficult to do since the field guide only seems to contain photos of the males of each species, and this bird seemed to be of the browner, plainer, female variety, so we settled on the vaguely descriptive classification of 'sparrow').  then i looked up how to care for an injured 'sparrow, unspecified,' and as it turns out, no one on the internet will divulge that information since it's illegal to possess a wild native bird for longer than overnight.  seriously?  i'm quite confident that, at any given moment, i'm only thirty seconds and few clicks away from knowing how to build a bomb, or make meth, or overthrow the government, but information regarding the saving of birds in dire straights is not public domain because it's illegal to do so.  what the heck is wrong with the internet?! - and humanity, too, while i'm asking stuff.

so anyway, it appeared we had two options: to keep the bird in a box until it died of starvation or internal injuries (cheery! humane! kid-friendly!), and if it survived overnight and waited until the morning to kick the bucket (as it would probably do, as it only had one useful leg for kicking stuff, so it would likely take longer) i could be arrested on grounds of violating the anti-possession-of-birds-overnight law, or two:  find a 'certified wildlife rehabilitation specialist.'  and lo and behold, there is a certified wildlife rehabilitation specialist living right here in town!  so i called her, and she told me to bring it over to her house once the kids got up from nap.

but by the time the kids got up, it was pretty late in the day, and she lived on the edge of town, so we had a ways to drive.  and then, once i got there, i realized she wasn't even home.  my idiot imagination decided to kick it into high gear at that very moment, and i became increasingly in fear for my life, as the house was set back in this grove of trees, and guarded by about a bajillion barking dogs, and completely overgrown, and (as it really seems when you're alone at a stranger's decrepit house in the veritable woods, and pregnant with four kids in tow, and being barked at by dogs) downright haunted.  and here i was, by myself, clutching this dumb bird-in-a-box, and darting my eyes nervously around the yard as i bolted up to the porch to leave the bird, as i had been instructed to do on the "off-chance" that she wasn't home. 

as i got ready to get back in the van, a car pulled into the driveway, and i was like, 'this is it.  we're all about to die.  and all for this stupid bird that's probably on its literal last leg anyway.  after my death, someone better write a riveting book about this at the very least.'

the driver got out and just stared at me, and i was like, 'i left a bird on your porch... i called earlier about an injured bird... so i left it on the porch... so it's on the porch right now...'  and he didn't even say anything, just stood there looking at me, so i just kept rambling, 'i called earlier... and i was told to leave it on the porch... i talked to linda?  i called earlier about an injured bird and i left it on the porch for linda?  so it's on the porch right now?'  and then he was like, 'oh, okay.'  and then he walked to the house.  (phew, death averted, but slow and painful conversational death not-so-much-averted.)

as he left, i got in the van, and we were finally making our escape from the scene of our almost-certain death! but then penelope started melting down about how i was being so mean, just leaving the bird there, since the bird wouldn't know how to get back to her nest once she was healed.  seriously, you try to be act all 'patron saint of birds' and you almost get yourself killed by wild dogs and silent-type strangers in the woods, all in the name of saving one member of birdkind, and you're still the bad guy...

and that, friends, is parenting in a nutshell.  

1 comment :

todd said...

"On Her Last Leg" a New York Times best seller!