Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A sad tale of a baby bird

So on Monday Kaetlyn walked down to Kal highschool to get her report card and her information about her next years classes (which didn't get here in the mail because of our move...). On her way back as she walked past all the heavy construction where they are putting in sewer lines on Kal Lake Rd., she happened upon a baby bird by the side of the road too young to fly. So she picked it up and brought it home. We did a fair amount of research and made some phone calls and discovered that it was a Cedar Waxwing. A friend of mine sent me a link to this website which is a really cool and informative site! Look how beautiful Cedar Waxwings are! It already had the distinctive bright yellowy-orange stripe on its tail feathers And it had a beautiful little song.

We loved it! We discovered that it was a fruit and berry eater and that Waxwings are amongst the latest birds to sit a nest which is why there is a baby bird at the end of the summer... We fed it chunks of plums and berries from our Mountain Ash and water by a dropper. It was very fun. Kaetlyn arranged for a friend of hers to nurse it while we are gone to Calgary this week end.

It was very interesting to watch Delila and Coppellia. At first they paid the baby bird no mind at all and didn't even seem to notice it. Then, suddenly, yesterday morning it was like a switch flipped and Delila first realized through some deep genetic memory that this was her prey and she tried to leap up and pounce on the bird. Even though I was watching her and trying to stop her, her drive for the bird obliterated me. Soon after Coppellia also realized that this was a possible food source for her... I put them outside and they climbed a tree and came in an upstairs window. Of course, I saved the bird and then we went into the kitchen and closed all the doors. They prowled around the kitchen door and crouched in the 'pounce ready' position. Here they are at the kitchen door.

And here is Delila coming through the door, taking advantage of me taking pictures of them... We managed to save the wee bird from the cats but it died anyways. It lasted about 24 hours. I don't know what it was. Too much food? Not mushed up enough? Not enough food? (it ate ALOT). Was it ill and so the mother bird pushed it out of the nest in the first place? I suspect, we didn't keep it warm enough. When I discovered it near death, it was very chilled and although I warmed it up, it died in my hands. I was in awe of what mysterious things mother birds do for their young that keep them alive. I was in awe of the fragility of life and how one moment it is there and one moment it is not. We learned a lot about that bird. Because it had few feathers, the kids could clearly see the bird's digestive system - the berries and fruit gather in the gullet.

So thank you, baby Cedar Waxwing for coming to us for such a short time. I wish we could have done better for you...


katie said...

i would be too scared to pick up a bird. and why do half my comments disappear?

Chick said...

I'm thinking that maybe you are not doing the word verification thing quite right. When you go to post a comment, make sure that you see it leave the box and go over to the comment place.