Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fine Feathered Friends


I have always had a soft spot in my heart for animals, birds and mammals alike. Back in 2003, as I was running an errand with my then five-month old baby, Benjamin, I watched in horror as a ding-bat on her cell phone drove right over a mother duck, immediately orphaning her ten ducklings alongside a major road. Unable to think of anything else, I flagged down a construction worker to try and help me catch the confused and frightened babies, all the while running around with the twenty-two pound Ben stapped to my hip in a sling. For five hours I stayed in the backyard of this abandoned home, chasing the ducklings away from traffic, waiting for a woman from animal control to arrive (she did, rescued all ten of the babies, and took them to a farm ). My kids, to this day, believe that I am some sort of super-hero for that feat, which, honestly, never hurts- as far as my clout around here goes.

Last Friday, while picking Lily up from her friend Claire's house, a teenage boy came running in exclaiming that he needed a shovel because he'd found a baby bird on the sidewalk. Immediately my heart dropped an inch or two, dreading how crazy I would feel thinking about this tiny being suffering, away from its mother (I also marveled that this adolescent cared enough to stop on a Friday night and worry about a bird-further elevating my hope that my sons will not be spending 100% of their youth in a self-indulgent stupor, as it sometimes seems). Well, after some very quick research by Sara, Claire's mother, we discovered that, according to the Audubon Society, it is a myth that you shouldn't touch baby birds- that, in fact, birds have a very poor sense of smell, so they DO come back for their young and will not reject them if handled by humans. Well, Sara, the teenager, and the girls, walked and got the baby and put it, shivering, in a shoebox. I have never seen something so delicate and beautiful up close in my life (with the exception of my newborns). It was this tiny blue-feathered creature, shaking like a leaf and needing its mother.

To make this long story short, after the kids and I left, the Dougherty family put the bird, in the shoebox, back in the tree, and shortly thereafter, witnessed a mourning dove returning to the nest, and hopefully, its baby.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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