When I was young, I always knew the signs of spring and summer. Besides the trees and flowers blooming, it was also the time where various baby animals were seen. There were many times my mother and I found baby birds who'd fallen from their nest, young blue jays who came into the house, baby squirrels whose home had been destroyed by the demolishment of their tree and mother, baby garter snakes our cats brought in, and young bats which flew in (that was actually fall but still fits this theme of baby animals).
Each of these animals, we either put in their appropriate places, rescued them, or gave them to the wildlife center to rehabilitate, a place where we volunteered in transportation. Sadly, none of them made it. The newborn squirrels left the most impression on me. They were only a few days old, naked and blind, easily fitting into the palm of my tiny hand. Without the knowledge these were squirrels, they could have easily been mistaken for newborn pandas. When they died, I held a funeral for them and buried them near the site of the fallen tree.
Today's adventures reminded me of those sweet childhood moments. While at work, I decided to work with Tovah in the neighbor's yard. I like to practice recalls there, hiding behind trees and bushes. As we were walking around a pine tree, suddenly, I saw three pink things. I took a closer look and realized they were very young baby birds! I looked around for a nest, but did not see one. I probably should not have, but I picked them up and was going to put them in a box to care for.
By this time, Tovah was incredibly curious. I told her she could look and to be "gentle." She did beautifully until she wasn't sure what they were, and then she barked at them. It was absolutely hilarious, but each time she barked, they squawked and opened their mouths.
After talking to my boss who I don't think realized how young they were and remembering that some mothers will find their young, I decided to put them back where I found them. Still, I was unsure, so I figured resident biologist Cammy would know what to do. We exchanged a few texts, and she told me the stark details that it was probably an unsalvageable situation and even if I took them in, they were likely not to make it.
I had this feeling, but by the end of the day, I decided to at least move them inside the pine tree since storms are predicted for the next three days. I figured the small chance they had to live, at least it was better in there than on the outer rim where rain would just beat down on them. I made a little "nest" out of some twigs I found and used some other plant material for padding. They did some content but very hungry.
When I finished up work, I decided to feed them some earthworms and water. I had to dig for these earthworms but managed to get two dozen or so. One by one, I fed each of them a worm. This proved to be much more difficult than I planned. They'd open their mouths, the worms would squiggle around and then just stayed there in a circle in their mouths. This reminded me of those incidents when people fall asleep with food in their mouths. I know at this early age the mothers usually regurgitate their food, but I was obviously not going to do this. Instead, I helped them by adding a few droplets of water, closing their beak, and soothing their throats. They only ate 4-5 a piece, so I hope that will be sufficient.
While I was doing all this, Tovah just sat and watched, no barking whatsoever. She even went up to them to nuzzle them. I truly love it when species of animals can learn to be gentle with one another, especially when one is a predator. It's a beautiful sight. Speaking of which, Tovah has also reminded me how well a dog's memory works. When I went to go feed the baby birds, she totally beelined to where we had found them. Yesterday, she also did something similar, but that post will be later.
I have no earthly idea whether these baby birds will make it. I know it's bleak, and who knows, they could be dead by tomorrow. But for some reason, just knowing that I did everything I could, gives me a sense of not just satisfaction or relief, but something else. I don't know the word to articulate it, and this sounds cheesy, but it's like smiling at myself sweetly.
I'm not really sure why I'm rooting so hard for these baby birds to make it. Maybe, it's because I know there is no one else to. This is when I hope nature decides not to takes its course but rather produce a miracle.
Note--*I'm sorry the image quality is less than stellar for these photos. I was using my camera phone which has not been upgraded yet.