Baby Bird

Not a tarantula.

I came upon him in the afternoon when I went out to make sure the chard wasn’t bent over in limp resignation. Something felt wrong, there was too much stillness, too much noise in my yard. Birds were barking warnings of danger. That can’t be right, do birds bark? Then I looked down and saw…eek!

I gasped, it was a giant hairy spider!

No wait, um, it was just a baby bird, utterly still in a potted succulent. Why didn’t he fly away? I was so close. A mockingbird swooped close to my head, then another, squawking and flapping. Baby bird was alive, but stunned, and mama and papa bird were doing their job. Recalling Hitchcock’s movie about angry birds, I went back inside and quietly observed from behind the screen door. Mama didn’t like that either, complaining loudly and placing herself between her baby and the door until I backed away.

Always on the lookout.

How does a baby bird get up the nerve to leap from the top of a building? Why would they build a nest there? Was he pushed? He wasn’t ready for the test flight. It is very far to fall. Luckily the landing gear deployed, and this baby bird touched down in a pot of succulents.

I call him Mini Midge. Two weeks ago my friend rescued a lame city pigeon from her alley, brought him inside, nursed him, bathed him (because, you know, the poop), smuggled him in her purse to play tennis so he could be outside, and ultimately turned him over to an animal rescue that promised to release him when he recovered. His/her name was Midge. So, this one is Mini Midge, but he does not get to come inside.

Mini Midge hopped gingerly to a less conspicuous place in my geranium plant, where he has been for two days. Last night was very cold, so I blocked the wind the best I could with a washcloth. This morning, he had climbed into the cloth and nested. I don’t know what else to do. I know nature will take her course with or without my help. I do hope the awful neighborhood cats stay away.

A bird arrives with lunch, a delicious winged insect for Mini Midge.

Feeding birds this way is illegal in the state of California.

Mimi Midge’s parents have been an admirable team. One bird is always guarding from a perch on the roof, while the other brings food. Luckily (luckily?) my ivy plant is infested with caterpillars. When anything comes near their baby, one or both swoop in, wings spread to look large, making a ruckus. My indoor cats are curious about all of the activity. When they peer out the screen door, the birds come close, not two feet away, screaming at them to stay back, or else. I have been keeping the door closed to save the birds the trouble. This whole thing seems stressful enough, and they need their energy to hunt caterpillars.

Every time I hear mama and papa bird squawking, I run to the back door to see who is threatening our little one. As I finished the previous paragraph, they started in again. I couldn’t see Mini Midge in the geraniums. Oh no! A cat. Or maybe he flew away.

But then, I saw him. He had moved about 10 feet to another pot. Hooray! Mom was cheering him on. I think he’ll make it.

Larry kitty wants to play with Mini Midge.

How to tell a male from a female mockingbird.

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4 Comments on “Baby Bird

  1. Glad to hear he fared better than the three baby mockingbirds we saw get batted out of the nest and used as play things by a neighborhood cat the other night (so sad!). Hoping he makes it!

    • On the third day, Midgito left the geraniums for our tall hedge. S/he made it to the top, but couldn’t reach the roof. That took a couple more days, and the parents kept guard the whole time. It must have been exhausting. I learned a lot about bird language. Amongst all of the other backyard birds, I knew when our baby was crying for food, I knew when the parents were were shouting at attackers and when they were talking to each other, and I noticed when it all stopped. I assume Mini Midge made it back to the nest and lived happily ever after.

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