Al Rescate (To the Rescue)

We’ve been living our own little episode of “Go, Diego, Go!” here at the Wiggins’ house.

You may recall that we have three cats.  Our cats enjoy the usual activities of cats: attacking, playing with, disemboweling anything smallish.  It doesn’t matter if it has two, four, six, or eight legs.  Our cats are going to hunt it down, mutilate it, and then leave it on my doorstep.  Cat ownership has its privileges.

The critters they usually use as gifts are moles, snakes, lizards, toads, and chipmunks.  But, being that spring is passing into summer, the booty has become baby birds.

This turn has caused great heartache for my daughter Hannah, who has loved birds from the before she could walk.  “Bir!  Bir!” she used to shout.  We have 20 minutes of video evidence to prove that she once toddled down the beach in an attempt to converse with a sandpiper.  Left, right, up the beach, down the beach, chubby legs moving full-speed, hand extended in friendship, “C’mere, bird!”

My little Animal Rescue Team was called into action late yesterday afternoon when they found two tiny Blue Jays on the ground.  The two parental Blue Jays had done their best to attack our cats and keep them at bay while they gave their little ones an opportunity to spread their wings, but they were no match for our cats.  The scene was pretty crazy: two large Blue Jays screeching and swooping down on our cats, three cats crouched in a group attack formation, and four human children running around, screaming, “NOOO!” while trying to grab their cats and avoid a brutal hit from the Blue Jays.  Thunderdome.

The A.R.T. protected the birds in a little shoe box during the thunderstorms.  Then, in a fantastic twist of irony, I put the shoe box in the cat carrier for the night.

Hannah decided early this morning that she would try to feed the babies some chopped worms (easy to find after all the rain) through a pipette.  That didn’t go over as well as she hoped.

After a few moments of marveling over our helpless little friends, the A.R.T. noticed Mommy and Daddy Blue Jay flitting from tree to tree over our heads.  They sat the babies down in the grass, corralled the cats, and waited quietly a fair distance away from the birds.

Within seconds, the parental units began to screech and fly down to their young.  The adults flew back and forth from baby to tree line, screeching directions, while the babies hopped toward the woods.

My children stood back in awe of how “smart” birds are.

The babies still haven’t made it up to their nest yet, but I’m confident they’ll get there.  I think I’ve convinced the A.R.T. that it’s best if they leave the birds alone, to trust the birds to know how to be birds. Besides, until they make it home, the A.R.T. will have their hands full trying to keep our cats from being cats.

Updated to add: The Bird Forum has tons of helpful information about caring for birds.

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