Nicholas wanted a picnic. I wanted a low-cal lunch. So we made popcorn, and I took Michael and the blankets outside and spread them underneath the maple tree in the front yard. Michael walked up beside me…and I heard a strange noise. Ceeeehhhr!
How odd, I thought. That sounded like a bird. A mad bird. Under the blanket. But it can’t be. I would have seen it.
I got off the blanket and picked it up. Sure enough, there was a tiny baby bird.
Wait. Not a baby bird. Three baby birds. On my lawn, under the tree. We thought they were dead, or dying. Until the daddy flew around, cussing at us, and the babies reared up squawking, three little mouths wide and red.
(This one is the loud mouth of the bunch.)
We pulled the picnic blankets all the way to the far edge of the shade. The kids wanted to feed the babies popcorn. I told them if we touched the babies, the parents wouldn’t take care of them anymore. (Note! A bird expert told us last night this is a myth. Now you know.) At length, the popcorn vanished and the kids got bored. They ran down the back to play on the neighbors’ swing set.
Almost the instant the last child left, Daddy Cardinal came in.
That made me feel better about the babies’ chance for survival. Still, all afternoon we kept an eye on them, worrying about what to do.
(They’re so tiny, can you even see them in that picture?)
As evening came on, Christian, having enlisted his entire Facebook network for advice, decided to attempt to put them back in the nest.
Now, you have to understand how terrified my husband is of heights. The fact that he is sitting on top of an eight-foot ladder, trying to pull down the branch so he can then, somehow, lift the babies back into the nest? How can you not love this guy?
Well, we couldn’t manage to get the babies back in the nest. And honestly, we were afraid if we moved them around, the parents might have trouble finding them. So Christian and our neighbor (in the picture) put a cage of chicken wire around them to try to protect them from predators in the night. It took Daddy Bird a couple of tries to figure out how to get in, but he managed eventually. And now the kids have pets. For a short while, anyway.