Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Tale of Two Birdies

St. Francis, your help is needed!
We seem to have lots of robins around here, and every year they build nests and lay eggs and hatch baby robins. Some of the babies actually grow into adult birds, though many of them meet an early demise, one way or another.

One day I heard birds chirping merrily outside my chapel window and peaked out. The babies were running around on the ground, and the momma bird was doing the same; only she was picking up bits of something and running to each "baby" and feeding them. For heaven's sake, they were actually bigger than she was! Talk about over-protective mothers!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the dogs out in what used to be our sheep pasture; there's a water trough out there that I keep filled for the dogs to "swim" in – they take a dip when they get hot from chasing the ball. Well, this particular day, one dog started to get in, then changed her mind, and was staring intently at something in the water. Meanwhile, two adult robins were in a frenzy, swooping and chattering at the dogs. I went over to investigate, and there was one of the "babies" – about the same size as the adult birds, but with different "baby" coloring – sitting in the water. It must have fallen in, and was sitting motionless, as if in shock…which it probably was, as the day was cool and the water was downright cold.

I shooed the dogs away, and fetched a net my husband uses when cleaning extraneous hay out of horse troughs. I scooped out the bird and set it on the ground in the sun, hoping it would warm up and recover. Then I left it. I figured it would die.

But…it didn't. The parent birds kept an eye on it and even brought it food. A few hours later, it was gone.

After that, I became aware of two of these babies constantly running around the yard – mostly running around and not flying, though they would fly if I got too close to them.

Enter my most aggressive dog – the one who is insecure in her top-dog-ness and so is constantly trying to prove it (mostly to herself). She has always chased birds. She thinks that one day she will actually catch one. Turns out...

I was trying to make sure the birds were not on the ground when I let the dogs out into the front yard to run around. The other day, I knew one of the babies was out there, but it was around the corner of the house, and I figured with the commotion the dogs make when they burst through the gate, it would fly away.

It didn't. The culprit dog ran around to the front of the house, and she spotted that bird. She killed it instantly; I don't even know how, because she finished it off in the few seconds it took me to get around the corner to see what was happening. Who'd'a thunk? A border collie that thinks she's a bird dog! Sigh. I really just hate it when things die, and I hate it when my dog kills them.

Well, the other baby bird is still alive and kicking...and running around the yard. I am trying to make sure this one doesn't succumb to my dog’s jaws. If I go outside and I see it, I run at it and shoo it away, hoping to teach it to get off the ground a little faster than it’s been doing. I think maybe it has “issues”. It runs, and then flies at about 2 feet off the ground, and it doesn’t move very fast. The dog will catch it at that rate!

Now, if I were a good “desert mother”, I’d be able to make a “saying” out of this.

Let’s see…all that’s coming to mind is something about a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush…no, that doesn’t work…

Oh well. Draw your own spiritual lessons from this story!

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