Some days, it's hard to be a Momma.
Your baby was innocently eating and playing when suddenly--poof!--she's not in the nest anymore. Thoughts run rampant.
"Where is she? She's not here....where IS she?"
"She fell. Oh.... Where?"
"Can you see her? Is she OK? I can't see her!
She's got to squeak so I can find her!!"
Meantime, baby girl has fallen to earth with a wing that just won't work right. But she seems content enough to hop around from patch of dirt to patch of brush--sitting, gazing.
Then, a monstrous herd of wild buffalo (a.k.a, children) comes streaming out of the yonder fields with loud voices, baseball bats and toy cars. Swings swing. Balls fly. Cars vroom.
"Hey, it's a baby bird!"
The kids' dialogue grows louder as they tell each other to stay back. One seems to understand already that an anxious Momma is nearby and may swoop down to harm them if they get too close.
"Hey, CJ's Mom....There's a baby bird out here!"
Time to investigate. Surely, one of the newborn chickadees is lying at the base of the birdhouse, I think. But, upon reaching the scene, I spy a much larger bird, to the point that I'm startled by its size. Studying feathers for a few moments, I realize it's a baby blue jay. Not surprised, now, as I had heard the blue jays' cries in the yard, along with some louder squawkier peeping.
Again, the kids seek action, as they don't want the bird to be hurt or for Momma to come visit. So, I head off to the laptop to look for advice on what to do with an injured baby blue jay.
Plenty of Google entries await me, though the advice stirred my conscience.
"While it is understandable why one would want to help young birds, the best thing is to leave them alone... Many bird deaths are caused by well-meaning people. It would be better that the young bird were caught by a predator than be tortured by improper feeding and stress from a caring but uninformed individual."
I come back out and tell the kids that we need to leave it alone--give it some space--that Momma is, indeed, watching. We can hear her. She will take care of the bird. And with that, the kids go off to play, away from baby.
But, at that point, I can't keep my eyes off the baby. Apparently, a robin can't either, as she bob-bob-bobs her way over to the baby, squawking her own squawk as if to say, "Momma Blue Jay, your baby is here! Your baby is here!" I was admiring this bird's attitude, as it seemed Momma truly could not find her baby.
The web articles said that Mommas find their babies by their vocalizing. This little one had hardly said a thing! So, I thought the robin's stepping in to "help" was a gallant gesture.
After a short while, Momma Blue Jay appeared. In fact, the closer the robin got to the baby, the more Momma appeared, sharply winging her way through the trees, trying to knock that robin into the outerwoods. I then surmised that the nosy robin was more of a gossipy neighbor/predator alert system, perhaps, than a helper.
* * *
Sadly, Momma was not going to be able to swoop up baby and fly back to the nest. Baby made more peeps and even several athletic attempts to climb some trees. But in the end, she could do nothing better than to camouflage herself.
What became more disturbing, as I tried to watch more from a distance, is that baby decided to start hopping after me. She hopped clear over to the swingset and planted herself under the ladder tower, looking up with those big baby eyes.
* * *
The time for play was drawing to a close, and I knew baby was in a lot of trouble. Even though we have no pets, stray outside cats often saunter through the yard. I had no doubt that one of those cats would do the unthinkable, yet logical.
My quick online research suggested that I could fashion a basket, heap the baby into it and tie the basket to a tree, out of harm's way. I had such a basket, and figured it was worth a try--my heart now desperately needing to help Momma and save baby. I criss-crossed tied some ropes, filled the basket with crunched-up leaves and greenery, and put on my gardening gloves. But, when I was within two feet of scooping up baby bird, she had an open-wide beakful of words for me:
"OK! OK! I get it!!!"
I backed away, leaving the basket.
God, I know you spare sparrows, will you please spare baby blue jay and help her parents take care of her?
I remembered the advice of the article, and took baby's big voice warning that I was not going to be doing any saving. Momma continued to visit baby, even feeding it on the ground. I wasn't sure that there was enough ground cover to protect baby (and it was cold last night, too!). Not sure if the parents would be awake in the night to dive-bomb stalking cats.
* * *
The sun is up this morning. I hear baby blue jays, up high in a tree somewhere. I've been looking for the parents, hoping one would alight in the vinca, where I last saw baby. They have been flying, but no one is sitting this morning.
I'm not going to venture out until after-school playtime.
And even with all the excitement of the baby blue jay, I had to cheer for our chickadees as they have all cleared out of the birdhouse and are on their own already...finding their own bugs!
There is a plan for all and a hope greater than what I can see. Still....
Some days, it's hard to be a Momma!
* * *
I just posted, and I'm back three minutes later to update that I have seen baby blue jay!! She is hopping around, both parents dive-bombing squirrels! Praise God!!
More to come....