Thursday, June 10, 2010

Baby Robin: aka Michael Landon

Whew! It has been a whirlwind of emotions the past 24 hours.... at 3pm yesterday we found a baby robin in the road, and I immediately scooped it up and put it in a box to bring inside and figure out what to do....  it seemed the right thing to do, what with cars zooming down the street and cats prowling relentlessly. We read online that you feed a baby robin canned dog food with a tweezer, and no water, and that you should never ever think about hand raising them (not that I intended to, seeing as how they require to be fed every 20 minutes.)

So I made a makeshift nest from an easter egg basket and hung it from a branch in the general area of its nest, and hoped its mama would readopt him, and rushed off to work. When I got back from work at 10pm, I asked Jamba where the bird was (as we agreed we would bring him in at night to keep him warm) and he said it was still outside. I rushed outside to the "nest" and found it empty. My heart fell crashing to the floor! It fell out of the nest again! It's been eaten for sure.... I searched the ground sadly for feathers and bones, wanting closure, when suddenly my flashlight found my little baby straggler, inching out into the asphalt road again.

And I looked up... and saw Kitty, perched on the car, watching intently. It was honestly, not a moment too soon. So baby bird was scooped back up and I went to the neighbors (girlfriends of mine) and we set up a schedule to all take turns getting up to feed it every hour, so that not one of us would be so terribly sleep deprived the next day. And set my alarm clock for my 3:30 shift, wondering if I was perhaps a bit mad.

So, the next morning, after fractured, non-productive sleep in which i dreamed of gaping bird beaks and cats that swarmed like sharks under the surface of the street, I went online for more research and found this annoying news: 1) baby robins sleep through the night and don't need feeding after sundown, and 2) baby robins with feathers and with talons that can grip onto your finger are called fledglings, not nestlings, which means that the bird was on the ground intentionally, just going through a normal developmental phase in which they hop around on the ground, with parents watching, and learn to fly. This was confirmed by the Wildlife Center, who said to put him back up and let nature take its course.


So baby bird (nicknamed Michael Landon last night by Leela, because of its wispy little eye feathers that look like bushy eyebrows) was put back in the "nest" and I made a resolute plan to leave all alone, and stop being so meddlesome and imposing my incredibly strong maternal urges on creatures that don't need me. It has been a meditation, on... what? On, trust. On, surrender. On, giving up control.  As my friend Emi said, (as we rocked on the porch swing drinking mate and (me) watching the trees fiercely) how did she put it? Oh yes,  practicing "compassionate detachment". Not imposing our own egoic attachments on a cycle of nature so much larger than our own designs.

Still, I have been tormented all morning with guilt, hoping that his mama would readopt him, and not sure if she was ever going back to my little easter egg basket. And sometimes being mad and frustrated with her, like "My god, mamabird-  feed him already! He must be so hungry by now!!!"  As he perched on the edge of the basket and squawked, and she flew from branch to branch, circling wide.

So: sleepy and zoned out, I have spent a lot of time at my front window looking out at the basket... and here I will stop telling the story, and just post the videos of what happened next...

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