Friday, August 19, 2011

A bird's gotta do what a bird's gotta do.

There is a bird.

Let's call it a sparrow. (I am not an ornithologist.)

There is an adorable little sparrow who chose my home to build her nest.

Specifically, she chose the gutter above my front porch overhang in which to build her nest.

This gutter.

The bird? Adorable. The nest? Not so adorable.

Starting at the end of May, and ending a few weeks later, I would find twigs and branches all over my porch, left over from the construction project taking place in the overhang of my porch. The top of my front porch is about 15 to 20 feet off the ground, so the branches had even farther to fall, which caused them to blow and land all over the steps and threshold of my front door.


But I allowed nature to take its course.

After all, these things happen.

A bird's gotta do what a bird's gotta do.

Once the nest was built, and the amount of debris on my porch lessened, I thought the worst had passed. However, I soon discovered the "treasures" that my sparrow friend had left all over my porch.

They were messy, icky, disgusting treasures that had to be hosed off the porch every few days.

Apparently? This bird liked to eat. A lot.

But a bird's gotta do what a bird's gotta do.

Weeks passed.

Hose down and sweep. Sweep and hose down.

And hose down.


Then, the other day, I stepped out my front door and saw a baby sparrow, scared and shaking, sitting on my porch, not far from a planter. The nest was in my planter.

Have I mentioned that I am not an ornithologist?

Baby humans? I can handle. Baby birds? I have no idea.

A few hours later, I opened my front door and stepped back onto my front porch to check on the bird.

And then there were two.

Two terrified, trembling birds, sat on my porch, hovering together for warmth.

The nest had fallen about 15 to 20 feet, and landed in the inadvertent cushion of my planter. When I first checked, I hadn't seen the other bird in the planter, but it must have jumped or fallen out, and found the comforting warmth of his/her brother/sister bird.

There was no sign of the mother bird.

I had once heard that if a human touches a baby bird, the mother bird would smell the human scent, and reject the birds.

I could not let that happen.

As I often ask myself several times a week, What Would Google Do?

I pulled my iPhone out of the pocket of my shorts, tapped the Google search app, and typed in the words, "What do I do if a baby bird falls out of its nest?"

Google, being the all-knowing, wise sage that she is, told me in her most confident tone that the whole notion of the mother bird rejecting the baby bird is an old wives' tale.

It's total hooey, friends.

Then Google went on to say that when a nest falls, the mother bird will be nearby, watching. Which she was. My oldest son and I spotted her across the street, perched on the top of my neighbor's garage, watching us like a hawk.

Pun intended.

Google continued by telling us to pick up the nest, put it in a nearby tree or bush, pick up the baby bird(s) and place them in the nest for the mother to find them.

Google say what?

Have I mentioned that I don't touch birds? That the thought of picking one up - especially a young'in - creeps me out? What with all the wings flapping, and the beaks pecking, and the claws scratching?

Um, no.

Just no, Googs.

I have my limits.

Picking up a screaming, clawing, flailing toddler? Yes. Picking up pecking, clawing, flapping baby bird? No.

Fortunately, I discovered that's what husbands are for.

Among other things.

Bill had absolutely no fear or reservation as he donned a pair of garden gloves, picked up the nest, placed it on top of a low shrub, then picked up one baby bird, placed him in it, and went back to retrieve the sibling.

Truthfully? It was kind of hot. The only thing hotter would have been if he put his arm out and a large falcon came to rest on it.


I digress.

The next morning we checked on the family, and the mother bird had found her babies and was caring for them. The second sibling, who, had scampered off in fear into a distant shrub at least 15 feet away when Bill had tried to place it in the nest the previous evening, had amazingly managed to find its mother and sibling. The baby birds were huddled together for warmth as the mother watched over them. It was a sight to behold. The family had abandoned their nest for the protection and privacy of a taller bush. I tried to snap a picture of the gorgeousness of it all, but the mother bird flapped her wings at me a few times in warning, and I backed off.

It was at that moment that I found myself completely relating to a sparrow. She is a mother, protecting her young, slowly introducing them to the world.

A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.


  1. Aw, that's sweet. I guess mothers, feathered or not, just want the best for our babies.

  2. I hear you on the nest-bird anxiety. It's like stinkin' Wild Kingdom over here what with no less than FOUR NESTS in various locations around the exterior of my home. And while it is pretty interesting, I would have bamboo shoots wedged underneath my fingernails before I would touch one of those creatures. Ew.

  3. I love the fact that you consider Google a "she" ... :) Way to go, Team Clare!


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