Anyhow - there was one extraordinary experience that I thought I should share because it's just too...well....extraordinary not to. Here goes:
Saturday evening I was bathing Kennedy and appropriately enough Avery was refusing to go down for her late nap. After attempting to lay her down twice I "threw in the towel" and grabbed the bouncy seat to place in the bathroom so I could keep an eye on her while bathing her big sister. After I got Kennedy situated in the bathtub with all her toys I walked around the corner to throw her dirty clothes in the hamper and heard the most God awful noise coming from the patio area off the bonus room. I checked on the girls real quick and then headed to see what all the racket was.
OH.MY.WORD Y'ALL.....Kirby (my outdoor stud of a cat) had a baby bird in his mouth and the "Momma and Daddy" WERE NOT HAPPY and were verbally giving him up the road about it! When I realized after a brief moment of shock that they were blue jays and not just your run of the mill mockingbird (who by the way eat Kirby's cat food rather than the bird seed I put in the feeder for them every day and so if he attacks them I say they bring it on themselves..I digress) I went into full out "operation save baby blue jay" mode. Not before taking a minute to process the irony that this was all happening while I had two children in the bathroom (Thank you Lord - your timing is impeccable, could you cut me a little slack here?!?).
I jerked open the patio door and yelled something really appropriate and kind (right, right) to Kirby and he dropped the baby proudly as if to say "man, I am a perfect feline specimen - see my bounty?" Ugh! I pick him up and threw him into the storage closet off the patio. It's a cube of a closet really - barely fitting our mower, but I really didn't give a what. I ran over to look at the baby and y'all - it looked like someone had just picked it gently out of it's nest and placed it on our patio. Great, now what?! The parents (if they could) were using every profane word in their birdie language to let me know how they felt about me and my despicable furry feline. I grabbed Kirby's bed and gently placed the baby on it out of harms way. The parents continued from their perch on the power line to tell me how they felt about me and I'm pretty sure they were also saying "seriously...do something! Don't leave our baby sitting there." I will be honest with you - had I not thought my neighbor would think me insane I would have verbally defended myself stating "Hi...single parenting...two kids in bath...I hate my cat right now too....back off and ps: Momma...I am so sorry - really I am".
I ran back inside wringing my hands the whole way (so sad...so true) and wondering what I was going to do with the bird. My face must have conveyed my worry because as soon as Kennedy saw me walk into the bathroom she said "What is is Mommy"? I'm a dreadful liar so I told her what had happened and she was COMPLETELY INTRIGUED and wanted to know what we were going to do with the baby. She may have asked me that once or five hundred and ninety two times between when I returned to the bathroom and when we were done with bath time all together. I'm not sure - I definitely lost count.
I did a quick internet search and found a seemingly reputable rehabilitation website that recommended you return "fledgelings" (oohhh..don't I sound official) to their nest. So...I moved Avery (poor sweet little neglected Avery) to the bonus room in her bouncy (oh how I love a bouncy....almost as much as I love parenthesis:) and big sister and I went nest searching in our back yard. Nary a nest was to be seen in any of our trees. I even climbed a fence post to look in the neighboring yards as well. Kennedy looked at me like I was the coolest mom EVER when I climbed the fence. Hey, can you blame her? Ha! The Mom and Dad sat on that power line watching me and waiting to see what we would do. No go - couldn't find the nest. Back to bath time - it was Avery's turn. Kirby was still in the closet and baby was still on the bed at this point. I needed more time to think.
With Avery in the tub I used my phone to find that trusty website to see if they had a next step if no nest was to be found and lo and behold they did. They said to recreate a nest and hang it in the closest tree where the fledgling was found. They recommended using a berry container which by God's grace alone I had just discarded earlier that afternoon. Next up: trash can diving. Man, my life is glamorous...not to mention stress free. I finished Avery's bath and placed her back in the bouncy and put Kennedy in charge of "watching sister" as I stuffed the berry container with grass and cotton as advised. Next up: tying it to the closest tree. Did I mention it was raining? Yep...totally raining. Awesome! Thank God for a glass door so I could at least try to attempt to care for my kids while trying to save another mothers offspring. I told Kennedy "stay right by the glass and knock if Avery starts to cry and whatever you do - don't pick her up" to which she replied "why not?" Thank God I threw that in there at the last minute or I may have saved a bird but ended up at the ER with my kiddos. Whew!
I got the nest successfully attached to the nearest tree with the baby bird and Kennedy reported once I was inside that she was a good big sister and that Avery didn't cry but she did smile at her. Sweetness. I put Avery right to bed and then got started on moving Kirby to a more permanent residence. He deserved the mower closet for sure but thankfully for him I'm a tad more compassionate than that. Kennedy was most interested in helping and a big help she was as we got him in an old dog crate in the garage with all the necessary items: food, water, litter, bed, etc. Lights out for Kirby and I was off to get Kennedy aka babysitter aka "helper deluxe" to bed as well.
How fabulous is that
stuffed berry container nest?
Baby blue jay..."Parrot"
Kirby: the savage beast/hunter behind bars!
We prayed for baby blue jay who she decided then she'd like to name Parrot. A perfectly suited name for a blue jay, don't you think? She wanted to know if we could please check on Parrot first thing after she woke up the next morning and I told her certainly. Little did she know I was just as anxious to see if our "transplant" was successful too.
Well....our transplant was successful and a gentle tapping on the side of Parrot's berry container reassured us that he was indeed alive. When we ventured out into the yard to check on him, a blue jay flew out of the tree, so I assumed at that point that surely the parents had done exactly what the rehabilitation website said - they were taking care of both nests.
Kennedy was so excited that she wanted to call all of my sisters, her Honey and Chelsea to tell them all about it. If nothing else, despite the stress of the situation - clearly it was an experience that was exciting for her.
It rained on and off on Saturday and was cold, but before I went to bed on Saturday I checked on the baby again and he was still moving so I was really hopeful all would be okay.
On Sunday after church and getting both girls down for their afternoon naps I went out again to check on Parrot and I'm sad to report that he was no longer "with us". I'm not sure what happened....was it the weather, a poorly constructed nest, were the parents not actually taking care of it as I thought? Who knows but I felt so bad thinking it may have starved. I've tried to rehabilitate birds before...feeding them around the clock, etc - it is RARELY successful so I'm still glad I gave nature first opportunity. I'm just bummed it wasn't successful. I gently disposed of Parrot and the nest and proceeded to let Kirby out of his "holding tank" since there really was no need to keep him up now. When Kennedy woke up I told her that Parrot died. She was clearly saddened but only momentarily (thank you Lord) and we went on about our day.
About an hour after she woke up and had begun playing I heard the blue jays again and terror struck through me. "Oh no, not again" I thought. I ran over to the patio and much to my dismay the dispicable furry feline struck again! Oh yes......again. That darned cat went straight back to the nest and got himself another baby. He figured 2nd time was a charm I suppose. This time the baby was "gone" before I got to it and when Kirby saw the force with which I was charging him he ran off and rightly so because I was ticked and so, so sad! Poor parents. I know it's just nature and Kirby was/is just operating off instinct but it still stinks! I wish I could've tied this story up with a big happy bow but I can't. I can say it was neat to nurture the little baby and let Kennedy learn from it, even if only temporarily. According to what I've read at this point - Momma and Daddy blue jay will be wiser about where they "nest" next time around. Let's all hope so!
Before we said "good bye" to parrot I had Kennedy tell the story of how we found him. Pretty cute:
Now for some fun and uplifting items, guess who is giggling and squealing?
You guessed it! My sweet Avery Cate.
She's crazy about her big sister and I'm loving it.
Big sister is crazy about her too - don't you wish you could bottle this laugh? I sure do!