Have I ever told you about our track record “saving” baby birds? There is a reason I put those quotation marks around the word “saving”.
No matter how hard we tried and how much we prayed, the little suckers never made it much past a week in our care. I’m not sure why I kept on taking them in. They just always seemed so frail and needy. I guess I couldn’t help myself.
Until we found the last baby bird that prompted our “don’t intervene with the laws of nature” policy.
It’s the same policy the people at the National Geographic channel use when a lion is going after a baby gazelle. The lion’s gotta eat. Right?
Anyway, back when I only had three young children, we found a poor little naked baby bird right outside our front door. He had a bloody gash on his head and ants crawling all around.
That should have been my first clue to let him alone, but I’m a slow learner, so we took him in, blew off the ants, and kept him in a shoe box with a warming lamp nearby.
He peeped heartily at first and gobbled up the soggy crackers I fed him. I noticed several uniform white bumps on his head near the gash, but never guessed what they could be.
As the hours turned into days, his peeping grew weaker and he ignored the food I tried to give. The white bumps almost seemed to be getting bigger, but I thought I must have been imagining it.
Then, one fateful day, when MaddieLynn was looking at him, she said, “Mommy, there is something on his head and it is moving!”
Have you ever looked at something and immediately wished you hadn’t? Wished that you could rewind and erase that vision from your memory’s hard drive?
That is what happened next, for when I walked over to the box with a carefree abandon that has not been recaptured since, I saw something that will forever be seared into my cerebellum.
There were a dozen writhing, white maggots where the bumps had been.
At that moment, a sound sprang forth from my lips that caused all the pigeons in front of the New York Stock Exchange to take flight simultaneously. A shudder went through my body that, to this day, I can still feel if I think back on that sight.
Two minutes later, when the eternal scream stopped, I drew in a fresh breath, and proceeded to scream again. And flap my hands in front of my face. And do a little gross out dance.
It took a good half hour before I could bring myself to take that shoe box in my hands and carry it out the the back yard. I held it as far away from my body as I possibly could and didn’t dare to allow my eyes to fall upon it.
I put it outside the backyard gate, in the alley, and never looked back.
And that is the story of why the Smockity Family is no longer in the baby bird “saving” business.