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Sunday, July 15, 2012

The P.L.B.

Something pretty cool happened to the Caulley family in early Spring. We discovered that a mama bird had nested on top of the column in our front porch.

It was so exciting to see the mama come to and fro gathering things for her nest, and sitting on her eggs. I loved watching from the dining room where I ate breakfast sometimes. It added some excitement to the regular parts of my day.
One day, Luke rode home with his friend, Grace, from school during Caleb's nap (thank you Lord, for friends to help car pool!). As I stood outside talking to Grace's mother, suddenly, much to all of our dismay, we discovered the tiniest of baby birds struggling by the planter at our feet. I ran inside to grab my gloves, in order to pick up the poor thing. After safely placing it gently back into the nest, we discovered another baby over in the pine straw!! Again, I gently placed the little thing back in the nest. It was such a beautiful, unique experience, placing that tiny little heart beat of a thing back in the nest where it belongs. I felt worth something, and brave somehow, in my effort to contribute to nature's well being. It's in my own nature to "rescue." So this was very fulfilling for me.
After Grace and family headed home, however, tragedy struck...  I watched through the window as the mother bird flew back to find her babies. Then something horrible happened. I was the only one to witness it, but I ended up telling Luke and Jon David about it afterwards...  The mother bird picked up one of the rescued babies, and let it fall back onto our hard pavement on our porch. I was horrified and cried out (way too dramatic, I know...  I couldn't help it). Jon David and Luke were both very upset when they learned what had happened. We had gone on-line earlier to try to figure out if we could feed the baby bird. We frantically tried to scramble an egg and place some of it in a medicine dropper. But by the time we got out there to try to feed it, it was dead. It was very sad. Daddy came home and consoled us by his matter-of-fact reminder: it is nature's way.
We decided to bury it in the back yard. Jon David made a flag out of a piece of paper and a pencil. It read as follows:

He named the bird: Poor little bird (PLB). Then he wrote: I was tring (trying) to fly but fell hard twice.

I did some more internet research, and discovered that sometimes, if a baby falls, it can become diseased? (I think...  it's been several months since I researched this). If it becomes diseased, then it can contaminate the other babies in the nest. So I concluded that it was entirely possible that the mother bird instinctively was trying to help the sick bird die a quick death, in order to spare the other baby that was still alive.
We all consoled each other with these thoughts. (This seemed to bring much comfort to my older two children).
And so we spent the next few weeks watching the bird family raise the one baby who had survived. Oh! It was bliss watching that sweet beak reach out towards his mother, and notice how big he had gotten every few days. We began to notice that its wings would spread out, and realized that soon, it might learn to fly. It looked like a fledgling, now.

Well, one day, while the kids were away at school, I thought I would sneak a picture of the young bird who had survived so much.
I climbed up on our ladder, and took a couple of pics. Unfortunately, the bird must have gotten spooked. It hoped right out of that nest and landed safely on the pine straw. I couldn't believe it! I wondered if I had caused nature to rush because of my curiosity and desire to capture a picture...  I went back inside and watched, wondering if perhaps the bird might venture back into the nest...  it didn't. It just went cheep cheeping and hop hopping along on our front lawn, on the windy Spring day that it was. I went back out and took a few pictures, much better this time. 

The sweet thing finally found refuge from the wind -- and from me -- in a bush. I had to go inside and get ready for school pick-ups. By the time we returned home, the bird was gone. Now, when I hear chirping, every once in a while, I wonder if one of those sweet sounds comes from the bird that we tried to save, and watched grow outside our window. Perhaps she will come back to nest in her old home next year? And perhaps raise a little family of her own?
We shall see.


  1. Beautiful story! I'll forward it to my Aunt Sylvia, who's a birder. She sometimes travels hundreds of miles for bird-watching. Maybe her interest started like this.

    James & I sure like your little fellas - Jon David & Luke & Caleb.

    1. I did enjoy it. Thanks, CC, for forwarding it. Hi! Anna.



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