Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life and death at my door.

When I opened my door yesterday, I found three little baby birds. There was a nest up in the corner of the building and it had collapsed, spilling the precious little things into the stone courtyard below. There was a heart-stopping moment when I realized that I could have easily stomped one without ever seeing it. They were so small, and so perfectly camouflaged that we were sure somebody else would stomp them into oblivion if we didn't move them.

When Jenna, my girlfriend, went out to find them, there were only two birds. We looked all over the place for the missing bird but found nothing. We did, however, find a little pool of blood directly under the defunct nest. Hmmm. Jenna scooped our two new friends up with a newspaper and gave them a new home in the big orange planter in the middle of the courtyard. They could live there safely until Mommy Bird showed up again.

Jenna, it should be noted, is a bird person. She has an African Grey and he's the love of her life. Naturally, she fussed over the little birds and tried to make them as comfortable as possible, even building a little shelter out of rocks to keep them warm for the night. I watched from the upstairs window as Mommy Bird found them and fed them. Woo-hoo! We went to bed, hoping for the best.

When I left for work the next day, they were still alive and hopping. I was elated. Turns out my morning grumpiness is no match for cute little birds. Jenna regaled me with updates all day and I was proud to hear that one of them had hopped off into the big bad world, strong enough to leave.

They grow up so fast.

When I got home, I took one last look at the tiny pool of blood on the stone slab. For the first time, I noticed tracks leading toward the building. I followed it with my eyes and found the body of the third little bird. He had made it as far as the stoop and had laid his little head on it. He could have been sleeping, but he wasn't. Jenna buried him in the potting soil after dinner. By then, the last bird had hopped away.

When I took Gypsy out for her evening walk, I stared at the planter. I'd spent the last two days worrying about three tiny little bundles of feathers and now I missed them. I wondered what they were doing and if they were okay. I wondered if there was an orange planter big enough for all of us, should we need it.

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