This weekend I was throwing trash out of my car as it was being prepped for some body work, when I heard scratching come from the bottom of the dumpster. The sound stopped quickly, but when I made a noise- trying to provoke the source – the scratching began again. I immediately thought it had to be a raccoon, stuck from the night before when it was digging for some food.
I had Alex move some trash around to see what it could be because I was scared of some monstrous raccoon who just pulled an anxiety-ridden all-nighter to come out and have its way with my face. So yes, I let a boy handle all that.
He picked up a small box and unveiled, lo and behold, a baby bird. We were both surprised because the noise it was making left no suspicion that it was anything but a bigger animal. I immediately felt overwhelming sympathy and a swarm of frenzied “what do I do now” thoughts attacked my brain.
I put on some rubber gloves and took it out of the box and onto some dirt in the shade. The little bird was entirely too small to fly and could only walk backwards. To make my heart melt even more was when it opened its mouth to me for food.
I took the box into the shop and put some paper towels in it and put my new buddy back in while I searched the area around the dumpster to see where the nest could be. I saw nothing except an overhead air conditioning unit but there was nothing in or around it. I commenced mass Google searches before I realized that there was really nothing I could do to help save his life.
While my car was being worked on, three hours or so, I stayed with the helpless little fella and even got him to drink water when I suctioned some with a straw. Some websites advised not to do this, but I figured there was no harm in trying.
The whole concept of survival of the fittest daunted over me for hours. I watch those National Geographic shows and understand this is all a part of life, it is how nature works, but I do get upset when the weaker animal is overtaken. I am an extremely sensitive animal lover who pictures a Pocahontas-esque future where all animals live in harmony and eat… twigs and berries.
I named him Darwin, and maybe this was just in my mind, but when I would get up to do something, he would turn his head as I walked. He soon began chirping, and stared at me while I tried to get work done on my computer.
I went back outside to investigate the dumpster area when I saw a small dark brown, maybe black bird with a worm in its mouth watching me. Do I sound crazy yet? I ran into the shop and peaked my head around when I saw the bird going into a hole where the doorknob would be on a wooden, unused door- which I successfully overlooked earlier- that was situated in back of the dumpster. I ran inside and put Darwin and his box on the cover of the garbage and went back inside to snipe the situation.
It was the mother. With some time she would perch on the box but not feed Darwin, she only looked at him. I called Alex over to check what was going on behind the door. Sure enough, two little baby birds just like Darwin looked up at us.
I almost died of happiness. My car was just about done being worked on and I knew that leaving would only result in guilt and sadness if I had to leave Darwin where I found him. I made Alex put gloves on and put him with his family, and with some time, the mother returned and left again, bringing back food for her three little babies.
How Darwin got into the dumpster I will never be sure of, but an update per my constant naggy requests that came in just an hour ago said the birds are still together behind the door, and there have been signs of the mother leaving and returning.
It is always the little things that catch my deepest emotions off guard. I love to find myself in situations where I can help, even if it meant spending three hours with a bird whose chance of survival was bleak. It is always the little things that make me grateful to be who I am, someone who is capable of actually finding happiness with the simple world around them.