Sunday, April 01, 2007

A story with a happy ending

When i was 11, my best friend Connie and i found a baby robin on the ground at the bottom of our Tulip Poplar tree. Not too baby, but she could not fly. (I have no idea if the robin was a girl, but for the sake of simplicity i will call her a girl.)

I carried her inside the house and cradled her in my hands while Connie prepared a shoe box nest for her. Shredded kleenex and a few leaves to make her feel at home.

I named her Terry Lynn, as that was my idolized oldest brother's girlfriend's name. I thought it was the most beautiful name in the world and i declared my intention to name my first baby girl Terry Lynn.

Terry Lynn, Terry Lynn. See how it rolls off the tongue?

We showed Terry Lynn to my mother and asked her what we should feed her. "It will not live," she declared. Then looking at our hopeful little faces she relented, "Try little bits of cat food." Connie's father gave us an eye dropper from their hamster's equipment for water.

Terry Lynn spent that night in my room, peeping and pooping and gobbling cat food. Connie and i carried her around the neighborhood in the morning to show all the other kids.

We kept her for about two weeks. She began to flutter around my room a bit. Connie and i presented her with piles of worm stocked dirt to dig through so she could learn how to take care of her own food supply. We dug the worms out of the manure pile at the stable where Connie's sister had a horse. (Now that's love.) She would cock her head to one side and listen and then dive into the dirt and pull out a fat wiggler. Yummy!

Terry Lynn got stronger with flying so a few days later we took her outside. At first she hopped around on the ground. (A bad idea for a bird.) But then she heard some robins in the trees and off she flew. Connie and i cried and watched her until we couldn't tell which robin was her anymore.

Freedom.

41 comments:

patches said...

That's sweet. I'm envious that it ended well.....burp!

meno said...

patches, No! Bad kitty! :)

deb said...

What a nice story. I was always trying to rescue animals when I was a kid but they didn't usually have such happy endings. Usually I got bitten, once on the nose by a very irritated seagull. Thanks for the tip on my comments.

Toni said...

My dad once rescued a bird that was drunk from the wild cherry tree in our yard. I thought the bird was retarded (I was 5). After the bird sobered up. my dad set it free, then chopped down the damn tree. He said he didn't want to deal with drunk birds day in and day out.

Your stories much better!

Terry Lynn... it does roll off the tongue.

Ortizzle said...

Aaaaawwwww. I love it when humans manage to do things right for animals instead of making things worse. And the feeding ritual? Now that is true love.

Lee said...

How nice to hear one of those stories with a happy ending! Damn things always died on me.

I will love dem and squeeze dem and hug em.....

Joan said...

What a wonderful story. You and Connie obviously had the nurturing instinct even back then.

meno said...

deb, most of the animals i tried to rescue didn't make it either.

toni, drunk birds? wow. That's cool that your dad cut down the tree.

ortizzle, most of the time i don't know what to do either. This bird was old enough to survive our attentions.

lee, most of them died on me too. This is the one happy story, out of many.

joan, i love animals, and did back then too.

urban-urchin said...

What a beautiful story. You guys had the foresight to teach the bird how to catch worms? I'm impressed.

Mama P said...

You think you cried letting Terry Lyn go free? Wait until it's Em's turn to fly the coop. I cry already thinking about my babes, and they're only 4 and 2!

ellie bee said...

what a great story! I just love a happy ending...

d-man said...

I rescued a hawk when I was a kid. Then my dad hit it over the head with a spade and killed it.
I think your story had a happier ending...

Mother of Invention said...

What a precious story and memory! You were smart girls the way you got worms and let her learn her natural ways. I have a friend who is a caretaker of injured and abandoned wildlife and it's just amazing what they do! They have fenced off areas for squirrels, birds,etc. Have you ever had an interest in doing this? You'd be a natural...it's very rewarding but it does tie you down, unless you have a back-up to cover you while away.

Lucia said...

Freedom is a wonderful thing. It is good to hear a story where things didn't end in the usual way. (And I see from the comments, that I wasn't the only one for whom they ended in the usual way.)

caro said...

Thank you Meno. Gem of a post, as always.

Josephine said...

That's a perfect ending indeed! What a success, that's pretty rare in the wild animal kingdom.

Lisa said...

What a beautiful story!

Not at all like my "trying to save baby wild beast" story. My grandparents' dog killed a mother raccoon, and my brother & I decided to try and save one of the babies. We bottle-fed it warm cow's milk but it died, slowly & horribly. It taught me a valuable lesson about the fragility of life, and how we shouldn't meddle with the natural world. Nature's creatures are better off without us. Which is, I suppose, the opposite of what you learned from the robin.

Sanjay said...

It's sweet. I loved reading every bit of it. Glad somethings in life end well:)

Thailand Gal said...

Just more evidence that sometimes a little bit of caring can fix many things, even sick birds. :)


Peace,

~Chani

meno said...

u-u, i don't remember if it was Connie's dads idea or not, but it was fun to watch. Not fun to get the worms though.

mamap, i know. Talk about foreshadowing.

ellie bee, that's why it sticks out in my mind is because we actually succeeded.

d-man, sounds like your dad and my mom would have been in accord on the way to treat rescued animals.

moi, i think in another incarnation my life could have gone in this direction. Maybe someday.

lucia, it is an unusual ending. Usually i have no idea what to do.

caro, you're welcome. :)

josephine, i still try and rescue hurt animals, but now i know enough to leave them alone.

lisa, but isn't it sweet that you tried? They are better off without us. Like i said, this bird was old enough to survive our attention.

sanjay, a rare event indeed.

chani, i wish it worked more often. There was this baby bunny that one of that cats brought in one time......

egan said...

Cute story there Meno. I have a fear of birds indoors so I wouldn't have gone the same route as you. This shows what a nurturer you were and are. We have heaps of wormies.

QT said...

Nice story, meno, it made me smile!

It is funny the instinct we have as human beings. Now that I raise birds I know that all those "mammal" things we do usually hinder the process of saving a bird. They mostly die of dehydration because we keep them WAY too warm.

gr said...

You should see all the love birds in my yard, all ga-ga eyed at each other, making the next generation of robins, ducks, mourning doves...
is there anything better than spring, even if snow is predicted for the weekend?

Mona Buonanotte said...

Oh, you so rock! I never tried to save any creature 'cause I never found one in peril. Well, I did stop a snake from eating a frog, but I'm sure when my back was turned, the snake found the frog and ate him anyway....

jen said...

oh honey...see how young it started, that gigantic compassionate soul?

Tink said...

Happy endings with animals are the best. I found a baby bunny once. Its Mom had been killed by a neighborhood dog. But it didn't survive. I'm glad your rescue did!

liv said...

It makes me remember the time when a family of birds made their nest in a hole in our dilapidated house siding. My dad put a 15 foot ladder against the exterior wall and had me climb it because only my hand would fit in the hole...I was 6. I just remember the sense of duty mixed with absolute terror as I reached in the hole, not knowing what I would grab. Little, tiny birds are what I found. They made it out, but I can't even remember the complete story of their fate.

Sober Briquette said...

So I'm the only one who thinks "April Fool"?

You have such an earnest readership.

meno said...

egan, if i ever need worms i know where to go.

qt, i can just see us wrapping the poor bird in a blanket and suffocating it with "love". Somehow we managed to avoid that.

gr, we have horny ducks in our yard too. What a racket they can make. 'Tis the season! No snow predicted here.

mona, i was always bring home some nearly dead animal and turning it into a completely dead animal. Then we could have a funeral.

jen, hmmm. Doesn't everyone try to take care of animals? I guess not. Stop it, i'm blushing.

tink, our cats brought in a VERY tiny bunny a few years ago. Other than missing a patch of fur off it's bunny butt, it was fine. I took the bunny outside and shut the cats in for the night. They sat in the window and looked longingly out all night.

liv, how brave. I'm not sure that i could have put my hand into that hole. I can probably guess the fate of those birds, but we won't think about that.

de, well, you are the only one who said it. It never occurred to me that it was April Fools Day. I am not really much on practical jokes so it's a non-event for me. It's actually a true story. I would have said i was pregnant or something if i was pulling y'alls legs.

Jenn said...

Just wanted to add my " What a great story" You did a great job of telling a great story

Jenn

lu said...

Just this year my father, who’s always been the neighborhood MacGyver, rigged up an elaborate pulley system when a nest full of baby birds was blown out of a tree. He built up the nest in a bucket and camouflaged the whole thing where he had it strung up in the tree. Eventually the mother came back and as far as we know they lived through that storm. He was so proud of himself- Alzheimer’s is beginning to steal away some of his engineering abilities and this was a much needed success.

You always tell great stories--the kind that make us think, and remember what's important.

holly said...

how sweet; an act of pure love. you're such a nurturing person, especially considering how nurtured you were growing up -not.

Maggie said...

Learning to fly. Learning to let go.

digging in manure for love - has a poetic ring to it, if not ironic

There is consolation in knowing that no matter how far away or big or tall our children get, when they leave the nest we will always be able to tell which robin they are.

sari said...

It's always nice when a wild animal story turns out well. Thanks for the smile.

:-)

egan said...

that's what she said

Princess in Galoshes said...

I'll jump on the, "Wow, it's impressive the robin not only lived but thrived!" train.

Great story. I love smiling after reading a post.

platypus said...

What a lovely ending. I'm glad that occasionally those little birds make it because sadly every time I've tried to help one they haven't.

meno said...

jenn, thank you. :)

lu, what a womderful effort from your dad. How sweet! And how sad that Alzheimer's is taking that away from him.

holly, plus we got lots of attention from the rest of the kids in the neighborhood.

maggie, the poet in you amazes me. I'm tearing up.

sari, A rare event for these stories, especially foe kids. you're welcome. :)

egan, ???? um...??? Are you being naughty?

princess, it was amazing. I wonder how long she lived.

platypus, Sadly, i've never had that much success before or since.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I saved or tried to save birds as a child, and made splints for broken wings with popsicle sticks. Too often they died.

How amazing that you taught it to harvest worms. I just did a room service thing because that never occurred to me.

It's amazing that my children all grew up to be so productive, catching their own worms and all that.

Antonia said...

Awwww. I'm glad she made it.

A couple of years ago our neighbour knocked on our door, flustered. Three baby wrens were on the ground in his garden and he didn't want the neighbourhood cat to get them, but he didn't know what to do. We hurried round. The babies were the sweetest things: little grape-sized bundles of fluff with oversize cartoon beaks.

Between the three of us - the neighbour, Ian and I - we made an excellent nest. (The neighbour was an architect, appropriately enough.) We got a hanging basket and suspended it from a washing line where the mother could get to them but the cat couldn't, and filled it with newspaper and moss. I put the wren babies in it. They kept hopping out onto my arms, so we all stayed there, three anxious adults around a hanging basket with little peeping noises coming out of it, long enough to see them tucked up and sleepy.

They made it. I saw them frequently for the rest of that summer, learning to fly with their mother. The cat had to settle for cat food.

Dick said...

That is a neat story with a great outcome. Very well done.