Gone to the Birds

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Its been a week and I’ve only shared two recipes with you. Is it because I haven’t been cooking? No. Because I don’t have some recipes lined up for you in my head, on paper, but unblogged? Not entirely. Perhaps its because I have been neglecting editing recipe photos? Nuh-uh.

See, some folks ask me (including the kids) what it is I do with myself all day? Why do I always seem busy? No one ever told me how much diversity exists in the role of wife, partner, step-parent, late-20’s-perfectionist-over achiever. I have gone to the birds. Literally.

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We have these feral pigeons… we don’t really have them — there’s a distinct pair that comes back every year and nests outside my bedroom window. They build their nest on a ledge that 50% of the time results in dire consequences for any babies who hatch. Another 25% of the time our dogs seal the fate of fledglings that are lucky to make one good flight. Last year we placed a two by four filled with nails trying to deter the pigeons. All that did was cause them to find a new spot on the roof to nest; a potentially suicidal ledge, I thought, for any eggs that might be laid. It was a steep ledge wherein I was certain the only direction any hatchlings were going was down… Very quickly, far, down. I was wrong though. The pigeons laid two eggs, both of which hatched into little birds who eventually left the nest. One baby in particular, had beautiful markings of white freckles and iridescent purple and green breast feathers. We watched him take his first flight last Monday.

Come Wednesday of last week, Vincent came running upstairs and woke me up. “Dad needs you! Our white-headed baby pigeon was attacked by a crow!” Due to the dire sound of his voice, naturally, I semi-grunted with one open eye and said, “Well… I can’t really do much about that… What do you need me to do?” When he shrugged and left, I thought that was the end of it. I would fall back asleep for 15 minutes and then get up to fill myself with coffee then proceed to do the dishes I neglected the night before, which laid from one side of the kitchen to the other. HAH! Not a chance. Vincent came running back upstairs. “Dad REALLY wants you to come look at the bird… and bring a towel!”

So I got out of bed, threw on a hoodie and walked across the street. I saw the white freckle headed pigeon standing on the ground. Upon closer inspection, I saw blood behind his right eye, but no visible damage anywhere else. He let me wrap him up, then carry him home. I carried him around for a little while before placing him in a towel-lined box. When I wiped the blood from his head, I didn’t see any gaping wounds or areas that screamed for attention.

Within a couple hours, I noticed some blood on his beak, coming from his nostrils. I told my husband that I thought this may be a sign of internal bleeding and didn’t have a lot of hope for the poor little guy. We decided that even if he didn’t make it, having a warm and comforting place to be was much better than the inevitable slow and relentless pecking he would’ve received that morning from the crow who was twice his size.

Much of the day unfolded like this, every 2 hours:

He made it through the night, willingly drinking water and eating a mixture of oats, almond meal, banana, honey, coconut oil, millet and water, by syringe. By Thursday much of my morning looked like this:

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And then something else happened. You see, we have this little (big) guy in the house. He’s been inside since the attack, as he appears to be blind. His wings are undamaged, but he appears to have zero recognition of where he’s going — bumping into walls, lacking all depth perception… While he is inside, his parents are still around the house as is his sibling (who I think is a female). On Friday my husband came home from work, went upstairs to our currently empty office/recording space and yelled, “Babe! Come here! You have to see this!”

When I got upstairs and went to see what it is I had to see, this is what I saw:

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WHAT! Our injured bird’s parents had been coming in through the cracked-open window building a nest inside our house. We laughed and said half-jokingly, Maybe we should just let them do it! But then we didn’t close the window, so perhaps it was also a half-serious statement.

Meanwhile this guy has been hanging out.

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He sleeps on my hand, has only chirped once which was quickly alleviated by being picked up, wherein he placed his head under my chin and went back to sleep. He is trying to fly around and seems increasingly strong, despite his inability to see. I think he believes his name is “hey bird,” as it’s generally what he will respond to. My husband tells me I am not allowed to transfer that into the name Herbert, which I think makes a handsome blind pigeon name. (Teehee) Although he looks quite big, I have noticed his sister still feeds from their parents, so I have been hand feeding him. It’s what I imagine having a newborn is like; he needs to be fed a bit of water and/or food every few hours. His poopy linens need to get changed. He likes to be held and pet. He doesn’t like to be left alone for too long. When he’s out, he needs to be closely watched because he gets into things and/or flies into things that could potentially hurt him. Needless to say, its taken over much of my day-to-day life.

But you see, there’s more. On Saturday, my husband yelled downstairs, “JULIE! Come here! Bring your camera!” This is what I found:

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Seriously. It appears we are growing an aviary. The room that once was Silas’ and was supposed to be converted into my husband’s office/recording space is turning into our crazy-person-bird sanctuary. Mama bird doesn’t seem too skittish anymore and won’t immediately fly out the window at the sight of us and lets us get pretty close to her, so long as we don’t get too close!

Does it get better? Yesterday:

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As I tend to enjoy living my life, I am finding immense amounts of laughter in this whole experience. It’s all funny even when I am buried up to my nose in dirty dishes, piles of laundry, the impetigo that Silas suddenly came down with this week, deer eating the flowers I just planted within the 30 minutes it took me to go to the grocery store and come home, dogs who must despise this bird because they’ve had to be outside more when they want so bad to be in-the-house-little-dogs, the bird who simultaneously drives me nuts and warms my heart because he wants to be held/fed/pet/let free/held/pet/fed/held when I have only nine billion other things to do.

Its all part of the hilarity that only real life offers. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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P.S. What the f* are we supposed to do with our indoor flock of feral pigeons?!

4 responses to “Gone to the Birds

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