Friday, May 29

Mom! Is that you?

Yesterday afternoon Hilary and Luke were enlarging the sky by cutting more of the dead oak tree that would be a fire hazard. Among the fallen branches, she found a cute little round nest with a cute little round bird in it. After checking it out, we put the bird and nest in a nearby tree to see if the parents would find their kid. They didn’t, so it became a ward of the family. Since I had successfully raised other birds on canned cat food, it was time to try again with this one.

At first, it hunkered down in the nest, trying to hide from the huge humans that loomed over it. We loaded a syringe with watered-down NEW Improved! Science Diet gourmet beef entrée adult Cooked in Savory Juices! and slowly squeezed bits of it at the bird. No response, so it was time to pry its reluctant beak open and squirt some in. Then I remembered that on my iPod touch I had an application listing birds of North America, complete with their calls!

After eliminating the obvious ones like the California Condor and King Crow (and emu, albatross, and dodo), we found that this little guy responded well to the sound of a whole bunch of Goldfinches, especially Lawrence’s and Lesser. Kind of cool, we thought!

This morning the bird was well rested and feeling good enough to jump out of the nest and flap his wings. He responded to the iPod’s tiny built-in speaker chirping at him by opening his mouth wide enough for some pretty good shots of cat food, then quickly made himself a nuisance by jumping all over the place. All the cats were tossed out just in case this guy started to fly!

Everyone else took off to the Big City today, leaving me to care for little Chip (you just knew it would get a name, didn’t you?). The name Chip is sufficiently gender neutral till we see the foliage develop into something positive.

Photo: Hilary Hurley Painter