Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Baby Mockingbird

Saturday was a dreary day. Not long after I got up, I was out in the garage and heard a loud bird ruckus and wondered what was going on. I opened the door and saw two Mockingbirds going crazy screeching at Barney who was hunkered down looking frightened. I ran out to shoo them off, but they didn't go far. I figured Barney was trying to get from the backyard into the garage to eat and the birds were just being asses. He came into the garage with me and I shut the door and didn't think too much about it but mentioned to My Sweetie that some mockingbirds were bothering Barney and we were both all, "Poor Barney, he has the hardest time."
After lunch I went into the backyard to water the flowers and realized those birds were still going at it. I came inside for my Nerf gun. I went out and fired some shots of little Nerf pellets at the birds but they never went far (and of course I didn't hit them.) I continued with watering the flowers and then saw one of the mockingbirds actually dive bomb Barney. Then I was getting irritated. I grabbed my Nerf gun and went after them in ernest but they were smart. They either stayed on the fence or just inside my neighbor's yard. These are the neighbors whose cat attacked Barney last year and when I demanded money, it didn't go over well and so I knew I couldn't fire into their yard, or I'd never get my Nerf "bullets" back.
So now I was thinking "prevention." I called Barney to come over onto the patio with me so they couldn't bother him. Barney wanted to go back to the side of the house which was the bird stronghold, so then I got irritated thinking maybe he was hungry and couldn't get to his food. I walked with him along the side to the garage door, but he didn't follow me. He was more interested in a bush. I thought "Why does he want to hang out here to look at a bush when it's obvious it's making these birds crazy?"
Then something clicked in my tiny slow brain and I went over to inspect the bush and found this little guy:

Suddenly everything made sense. I grabbed Barney and went back to the patio and decided to keep him over there until the parent birds could do something about the baby bird. Twice, over time, one of the big mockingbirds would check back with us to see where Barney was, but the fuss died down and now Barney was busy in the grass on the far side of the backyard. It got quiet and I figured it was all well. And I like a happy ending. Since Barney was preoccupied, I decided to go check things out. I slipped over there and didn't see Ma or Pa and was about to go check the bush when I saw the baby hopping toward the gate to the front yard. There's plenty of room under the gate, so I figured he'd make it out just fine.
I opened the back door and called for My Sweetie to go check baby bird's progress while I kept and eye on Barney. Sweetie opened the gate and gently helped Baby out into the front yard. At this point I thought it was all over and the parents could take care of their tot without worrying about Barney and went about my day. I took my shower and started getting ready and then realized I was still thinking about the bird. Barney was asleep on the deck and all was quiet. I went out the front door and walked over to look for the little guy and found him under a bush. But where were the parents?
I kept going out to the garage where I could keep an eye on him and not scare the other birds away and kept watch through the garage door window:

I stood there for a long time listening to the radio, sipping beers and watching all the birds and lizards in the neighborhood. Finally, just to the left of the Crape Myrtle that you can see part of on the left of the above picture, I saw a mockingbird on my neighbor's mailbox:

That bird was one of the parents and flew over to the baby and looked like it was feeding it. I was really happy, because I thought they had lost each other. I continued my watch and saw the bird come back again. I felt like it was all going to be good. As we were leaving to go out, I took one more picture of the bird:

We went out to eat and then to the grocery store and when we returned I watched the driveway carefully as we turned in so we wouldn't run over the tiny bird. I saw something by my truck tire under my truck. After we parked I jumped out and checked with the little flashlight that hangs on my purse and that was him. I figured he'd sleep through the night and his parents would come back in the morning to take care of everything.
When I woke up on Sunday, My Sweetie told me that he had gone out to check early that morning and the little baby mockingbird had died. I was so sad. I like a happy ending and there was not one. Poor little bird.


Jammie J. said...

Oh dear. Poor little birdy. I'm glad you figured out what was going on, though, so at least the little birdy could die with dignity instead of by being eaten or something.

Barney sure does put himself in some awkward situations, doesn't he?

VioletSky said...

Oh, I was feeling so happy and optimistic and excited for you finding that chick. I just read somewhere else that they fledge after 12 days so was wondering how old he was. I was almost ready to name him, if you hadn't.
I'm going to bed now, with sad, ead bird thoughts.
Very suspenseful storytelling.

Mr. Jazz said...

You have BIg heart Geewits. Rest in Peace little birdy ;-(

Scarlet said...

After all that, he didn't make it. Poor little bird.

Jazz said...

Seems to be a lot of that going on in Texas - another blog I read had a similar story.

Unfortunately though, once the bird is out of the nest, it's pretty much finished unless it can fly, since the parents can't get it back into the nest.

Nature's a bitch.

xup said...

Ya, I, too figured this was not going to have a happy ending. Like Jazz said, once they fall out of the nest they’re pretty much done for.Circle of life. Poor wee thing.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh Oh Oh....That poor sweet little Baby....This is a very sad story. But you tried and I guess in Nature, they know things we don't know---at least that is what people say....
Those are such sweet dear pictures. He lived long enough to touvh your life and many of us all over the world, too.....Thanks for the pictures and the story. I hate sad endings, too.

Carole said...

Oh, that is so sad. I love our mockingbirds in the neighborhood. I actually talk to one that visits me regularly in the backyard and sings his repertoire of birdsongs. I tell him how beautifully he sings and I thank him for coming to sing to me. I also cheer them on when I see them chasing squirrels across the street. They are fierce protectors! I'm really sorry to hear about little baby mockingbird. If I see Mr. or Mrs. Mockingbird soon I'll be sure and tell them how sorry we are about their baby.

geewits said...

~~being eaten. Yes, that was my concern Saturday night.

~~So you know how I felt - wishing for that happy ending.

Mr. Jazz,
~~Those are kind words. I'd like to think I have a big heart.

~~I know. But now I am more worried about your friend.

~~I didn't know they couldn't get the bird back in the nest. I guess I was hoping that would happen.

~~Maybe I'll have a story sometime that will surprise you with a happy ending. At least I hope so.

~~I know how much you love birds. Maybe I should have put a warning at the top just for you.

~~I kept thinking, "I wish Carole were her. She'd know what to do." But I guess you really just have to let nature take her course.

FishStikks said...

Awww poor baby bird!

I myself have just found a baby mockingbird and in trying to find out more about him and taking care of him until I can find a better place for him I stumbled across your post.

Lovely pictures though it's too bad the ending wasn't a brighter one.

Susan said...

That is so sad the little guy didnt make it.
For the past 2 wks I've been co-parenting a baby mockingbird. There were 4 fledglings orig. One by one over the course of 24 hrs. 3 died. I saw the parents feeding them and was puzzled by their deaths. After 3 had died and the 4 was weak and had fallen over and just laid there, I decided to intervene. I picked him up and discovered he was infested w/mites. they were literally sucking the life out of them. I brought him inside,ran warm water over him and got most of the mites off. I then got a mite/lice protector from the pet store and put in his box. I put him outside in my fenced in garden area during the day and his parents come and feed him. At night I bring him in to keep him warm and safe. I have spoken w/BEAKS which is a bird rescue/sanctuary located in NE Florida- Amlia Island to make sure I was caring for him properly. I have been feeding him mealworms and crickets. His parent(s) bring him nice juicy larvae and other bugs. Also, I have put a dish on a table in my garden and place a mealworm in it. It didnt take long for the parent to spot it, get it and feed it to "Petey". I "ting" my fork on the dish to signal to the parent there is a worm. She gets it and feeds Petey. petey has an injured eye so he may not be able to survive in the wild. Once he started fluttering some, I knew I had to find a way to keep him from flying away. He was still on antibiotics for his injured eye. If he flew away B4 he healed he would most likely die. I built him an aviary around the fig tree 7x8 (5 ft. tall). w/ a 12"x12" hole in the top so his parent(s) can go inside to feed him.. which they are... shocked me!
I hope and pray Petey will have a happy ending.
One thing BEAKS told me not to do is give him a Kaytee baby bird formula. It is formulated for seed eating birds. Petey is a bug/berry eating bird and is prone to rickets (cause brittle bones in legs) Also, ointment should not be put on a bird due to it being oil based which gets on their feathers and takes away from them being able to keep warm... and fly.

Susan said...

Since I have begun co-parenting Petey, I have been surprised by how many people still believe the old wives tale that you shouldnt touch a baby bird or the parents will abandon them. Totally not true.
If you find one that appears to have fallen or has been blown out of the nest, put it back in the nest if you can. If you find a fledgling, leave it be unless it is injured or in imminent danger. Fledlings hop around and jump up into bushes for 3-7 days. This part of their "ground training". The parents keep watch from a safe spot and will come to feed the fledgling during the day. The parent flies down, feeds the fledgling then immediately flies away so as to not draw attention to predators.
Should you find an injured bird or a nestling that you cant get back in the nest, you can do an internet search for a bird rehabber in your area.

Susan said...

I didnt think Petey would make it and had thought that if he didnt that I would think of him flying over the rainbow bridge into the land where our pets go when they die. They all get along, there is plenty of food and it is a wonderfully beautiful place. There is no more pain or hunger. Your little birdy has gone there to sing beautiful songs to all of our pets who are no longer with us. :)

FishStikks said...

It's really too bad about the spam you seem to be getting here on a regular basis though.

Bad spammers.

Anonymous said...

Aloha, this is good!