This Little Miggy Stayed Home: The Saving of the Baby Birds

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Saving of the Baby Birds

Last week sometime B discovered a low lying nest with 3 beautiful blue speckled eggs.  I don't think I  had ever seen a nest so close up before.  A few days later B brought me out to look at the nest.  Lo and behold, the still small eggs were replaced with 3 chirping birdies, so new their eyes were still closed, but their hungry little beaks reaching up high for their mama to bring them some food.

I whisper squealed.  So tiny and sweet.

I mean new life is just amazing in pretty much any form.

Except that one time the urban legend about a poisonous spider from Brazil that hitchhiked on some banana's all the way to the UK and layed eggs of baby deadly spiders that hatched in someones house and the family had to evacuate their home so they didn't DIE turns out to be t-r-u-e TRUE!  Then new life is downright terrifying.

But mostly it's amazing.  And here's the thing, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this--whenever I have a baby myself, pretty much every baby animal in the world immediately reminds me of my baby.  So here I am seeing these sweet baby birdies reaching their little baby necks up chirping for their mama (or dada as it turns out) to bring them food and OBVIOUSLY this reminds me of my little Zuzu crying softly in the wee hours for her mama to come nurse her.  I mean they are the same... the baby birdies become my baby.  And I swear they even start to look alike.  In my head.  Somehow.  Then I said to B, They have 3 baby birds, and we have 3 baby birds.  We should name the baby birds PSP, Lamp and Zuzu! (except my girls' real names) and my heart is a pile of mush for these sweet birdies.

Initially we decide against showing the girls because the nest is on a really low branch and we don't want them coming over and messing with them.  Then we realize how precious and amazing and rare this is--to see a nest and newborn birds in the wild at such close range.  So even though they were already in bed, it's light enough outside that we go get them and tell them we have something special to show them.  The girls loved it.  It was a magical childhood moment to show them these sweet little birds.  We also talked about not going over there ever without asking mom and dad.  And I wasn't worried--they're pretty obedient when it comes to that stuff.

Fast forward to Sunday evening.  B comes in from the garage and gives me an exaggerated frowny face.  What?  I say.  He glances at PSP and doesn't say anything else, but starts walking back outside. I follow.  And because we're so terrible at being incognito, PSP follows about 3 minutes later.  Once in the garage B tells me that the baby birds are probably going to die.  Two are on the ground, and the nest is tipped sideways with one baby holding on for dear life.

At this point we already have an established kinship and a certain feeling of responsibility with these birds.  Especially with the girls now aware of these fledgling babies.  And of course the fact that they remind me of my own babies--3 and 3 remember?  And that's all it takes for the mother in me to be emotionally involved and I'll be damned if these baby birdies are going to die on my watch.  We go and examine the birds and the nest.  Yes the nest is still on the branch, but tipped totally sideways and I can't even believe the 3rd baby is miraculously still in there.  The other two babies are on the ground.  Not moving much, but still alive and chirping.  I tell B that I'm pretty sure it's a myth that if you touch a baby bird the mama will smell your human hands and abandon her babies.  A quick google search to confirm my suspicions (yep--old wives tell.  Birds have a terrible sense of smell) and to research options before we decide a rescue mission is in order.

B grabs some yellow wire to secure the nest to the branch--it had been raining earlier and we're pretty sure the rain and wind blew the nest over.  I put on some gloves for sanitary reasons, and adjusted the nest while B secures it to the branch.

And here is the sweet part--mama bird, a cardinal, is watching from a nearby power line chirping away helplessly, but watching nonetheless.

Then I gently lift the first baby up and gently place her in the nest next to the one sibling that managed to say in the nest through the whole ordeal.  Finally I lift the last birdie.  At first I think her leg is hurt, but then I think it was just splayed to the side from the fall and she's too weak to move it.  And she has a handful of grass and dirt, which HELLO! totally something my baby (and all babies really) would do and once again I die.  I let PSP get a good look at her, then finally we place her back in the nest.  They actually look ok and we head inside.

B watches from the front window to see if the mama or papa will come back.  They are cardinals and you can always tell the males because they are the bright red ones, while females are a little more dusky brownish/red in color and we've seen both of them coming and going from the nest (and as it turns out, they both assist in feeding the babies.  The feminist in my loves these birds more already).  He finally sees mama slowly approach the nest.  We watch a little bit longer and call it a night.

We check on them yesterday and happily they seem to be alive and thriving.  I am reminded once again that it takes a village... even if that village crosses species.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who projects her own children onto baby animals therefore insisting on helping any baby animal in peril.  Anyone else ever save baby birds from a fallen nest?  B was just happy that I didn't call the local animal wildlife shelter and make him drive these baby bird 45 minutes to the nearest office for rescue purposes like I may have done one time before.


  1. This story made me totally emotional! Love it and I hope those birdies kee

  2. A few years ago we had a nest on the light on the garage for 3 or 4 years in a row. I would lay rugs and old towels on the ground in case they fell out and hit the cement (this happened once and baked baby birds are not a good sight). Many babies flew safely from that nest!

  3. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Thank you so much for the rescue and the pictures!

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  5. Ha! I have one. My sister, she cries at Kleenex commercials, so when she saw four motherless baby ducks she was hooked. She brought them home to live in her garage which quickly moved to the kitchen and then to her bedroom. Well....that turned into her running her bathtub full of water because they needed to swim. This was all in the name of "nursing" them back to health. Her husband finally put his foot down and so now they live in a nice little pond with all the other duckies. :)

  6. Yay! Thank you for saving those little babies! I too am a lover of all things baby and of new life. I would hvae done the same thing and my family would most likely call me crazy. And it's wonderful you showed your girls - too many people overlook the small wonders in this world.

  7. Not the only one. I work as a property appraiser for our county. Last spring I had just returned to work from maternity leave and found myself out on a recreation property with a cute little cabin on it. It was clear it wasn't used regularly and I noticed a pile of leaves, sticks, and moss up on a high window ledge. I couldn't see if it was a nest, but I could hold my camera up above it and blindly shoot. When I reviewed the photo on the screen, it showed three little tiny baby birds a lot like yours. I was in love. They reminded me of my two kids, especially the baby whom I'd taken to thinking of as my little bird. I printed the photo out at work and taped it to my wall, where it still hangs today.

  8. Did you ever figure out what type? I believe I have the same kind