A Tiny Bird and The Course of Nature


Sweet Hippie Daughter has named him “Carlos.”

Yesterday was hot.And it was Sunday.

So when the Sweet Hippie Daughter and the Crazy Hippie Drummer asked if they could walk, together, to the town pool to go swimming I was all over that! Yes! Go! Spend as LONG as you like, burning up all that restless kid energy at the pool!

So they left.

Chubby Hippie Baby was sleeping.

Gorgeous Not-So-Hippie Teenager was reading in her room.



“Mama! Mama!  This is a real emergency!”


Of course it is.

SHD and CHD had found a baby bird on the sidewalk.  Apparently, a man walking by said it had been there for at least 2 hours, so they were VERY distressed.

I have been down the “I found a baby bird” road before.  It never ends well.

“Leave it there, ” I said.  The mama bird is probably close by, watching over it.  When you come home, if it’s still there, we’ll see what we can do.

Two hours later I found them both, crouched on the sidewalk… defenders of sweet cuteness against hungry neighborhood cats.

*more sighs*

I have read that, sometimes, if you just put the bird back in the nest, it will be ok.

There is no nest to be found.  Obviously, the bird came from the tree under which they found it, but either it was VERY well camouflaged or VERY high up.  We can’t put it in a basket and raise it up and leave it, as it’s not our tree.  There will be no putting this bird back.

I have read that, sometimes, the mama bird will continue to take care of her baby, even on the ground.

There is no mama bird to be found.  No bird is chirping at us.  No birds are flying nearby.  We backed off and watched for quite a while.  Nothing.

Now what to do?!?

Well…  if we leave it there, it will die.  It’s big enough to have feathers, but small enough that it can’t even hop around or “perch” yet.

There is no place around here (wildlife sanctuary, etc) that would take it in.

So, we scooped him (SHD has decided, with great certainty, that the bird is male) up and brought him home.

Good ol’ Google told us what kind of bird it is (a black bird) and what kind of container to keep it in (a small box, lined with paper towel) and what to feed it (lots of protein… eggs and soft, wet dog food and meal worms – no dairy) and how often (every 30-45 minutes as long as the sun is shining).

I also read what I already knew…. the odds of the baby surviving are not great.  Better than if we’d left it on the sidewalk, but not much.

So why bother?

I almost didn’t… I thought, “I can put it back outside after they go to bed and just tell them it didn’t make it and they’ll never know.”

Even in the wild, a baby bird has only about a 10% chance of surviving to reproduce.

Does the world need another blackbird?

But, looking for feeding tips I found a website called, “2nd chance info.”  The site is laid out in question/answer format.  One of the first questions is, “Many sites I see online suggest I leave this baby bird alone is that a good idea or a bad idea?”

The writer answers:

It is not a good idea or a bad idea. This is a philosophical question and the right answer depends on what kind of person you are. There is nothing wrong with letting Mother Nature solve her problems in her own way. The baby you just found wasn’t destined by Her to survive. Letting Nature take its course is fine in the grand scheme of things. In the United States, it is also politically correct. But if we all accepted that on an individual daily basis, there would be no need for veterinarians, physicians or good Samaritans.

Oh! Argh! The guilt!  My conscience was definitely pricked!

Maybe I can’t save this bird.  Perhaps nature will have her way.  But… there is a tiny chance that I can.  I’ve been presented by God (life, the universe, karma, random chance… take your pick) with the opportunity to TRY to save this little life.  A creature that is tiny and helpless and frightened and hungry needs help.

Who am I to walk away?!

How many times have I been helpless and someone used their time, energy and resources to save my sorry bum?

More than once, I can tell you!

Did they do it knowing that there was a good chance I’d mess up again?


Am I thankful beyond measure?


In this life, it is so very easy to walk right past the opportunity to help.  “It’s not my problem,” we tell ourselves.

I’m too busy.

I don’t know how to help.

It won’t make a difference any way.

But I believe… truly in the core of my soul… that every moment of our lives is a gift, given to us for a reason.

Too often, I waste my moments.

I frequently pass by the chance to make a difference in some small way without a second thought.  And who knows what blessings may have come if I’d just put forth a little effort?

But, thanks to Dr. Hines, DVM  and 2 kind-hearted children (whom I am very proud of!  They will never know how much they’ve taught me over the years), I will try this time, to do my best.

Maybe our little bird will make it.

Maybe he won’t.

But we will try.

And next time, when I see a chance to help… be it a tiny creature in nature or my neighbor who needs a hand… I will be more aware.  I will not “let nature take her course.”  Because the only way I can ever repay those who have saved me (oh, so many times!) is to lend a hand to someone else.

Everybody can be great.  Because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.  -Dr. Martin Luther King


9 responses »

  1. This is why you’re an awesome hippie mama. I feel the same way about helping injured animals (but that’s because I, too, was raised by a hippie mama!).

  2. What a great transition you made from helping helpless creatures to reaching out a hand to those in need. A wonderful post, as always.

  3. I can’t even count how many times I’ve turned away from someone else’s pain out of fear of doing it wrong or not knowing what to do in the first place. It’s something I’ve worked hard to change about myself. I love the MLK quote! On a lighter note, we have a ton of doves in Tucson and they always seem to build nests in the stupidest places. A baby bird fell out of a nest after a monsoon and I actually saw its mama feeding it on the ground. That’s not usually how it goes around here!

    • I’m working on it too… I do it more than I care to admit. When we lived in Tucson we had a balcony that was always cluttered. One day we went out there and cleaned everything, put a carpet down, added some furniture, hung a lovely garland of flowers and went inside to lunch. By the time we had finished eating doves had nested on the table we put there so we couldn’t go out all spring for fear of being attacked by mama bird! On the upside… we had a very close up view of the eggs and the babies as they hatched and grew up, which was fun.

  4. Pingback: Recycling, Baby Birds, Nasty Colds and Other Unrelated Items « lazyhippiemama

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