Friday, June 24, 2011

Feeding the Baby Bird, Feeding Ourselves



Paul and I went for a walk late yesterday afternoon down the bike path near our house. We were uncharacteristically furious as yet another job one of us is insanely qualified for went by the wayside without as much as an interview! Yes, we were mad and needed to walk it off.

And yet the angry frustrated talk continued. Did they already have an in-house person they wanted already but had to post the listing to satisfy some nonprofit board mandate? Most likely. If not, what could be the issues we're facing here? This has happened several times now. Our age? Overexperience? "Lack of experience" in that specific setting (meaning "knowing someone on their staff")? Or what?

We couldn't think of a "good" answer — we were at the top of our classes, we were the valued employees that people ought to be clamoring for—what the hell is going on? So we have been mad, mad, mad... and underneath it, scared. Like baby birds who fell out of the nest and feel lost and vulnerable and unsure of what to do.

And then a real baby bird appeared. A nestling with almost but not quite developed feathers started to run into the street and then turned, heard me call to it, and came running towards me instead. It opened its mouth wide and begged me to feed him.

I picked him up and tried to figure out what to do next. We were in a tiny landscaped area next to a strip mall parking lot. There were trees there but no obvious nest and there were driveways and roads all around it. Not a great environment to have been dropped into. He was looking a little unsteady on his feet and, by running in the street, an obvious and most likely vulnerable target. (We've experienced a little of being that ourselves.)

I gave the baby bird some Reiki healing and he closed his eyes and relaxed while we searched for an answer as to what to do. A game warden happened by — he and his partner probably had stopped for a bite to eat at the Burger Hut nearby. But all they suggested was to let Nature run its course.

I put the bird down in the shade of a bush —my own inner guidance said that was what was best for the bird —but I couldn't bring myself to go. So I asked internally what was best for "all concerned." "Bring him home! Mother him up."

So that's what happened. We brought him back to our place, found a box and an incandescent lightbulb to heat it up. We looked up "I rescued a baby bird" on the internet and found suggestions for what to feed it. Inappropriate ones by Wildlife Rehabilitation standards...but giving him eyedroppers of warm 2% milk seemed to revive him nonetheless. Then we found out the reality of rescuing baby birds of this kind—they want more every 20 minutes!

We called the Bidwell Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the wonderful volunteer I wound up contacting gave me a pep talk in the wisdom of bringing the bird back. If it was a swallow or, more likely, a starling its mother would surely come for it when it heard it call. If not, she said, these birds tend to be communal and another momma bird would come along. If the bird was to be rescued in reality this is what would have to happen because they don't do well in the wild before they've been fledged AND they don't learn to fly or fend for themselves when you rescue them yourself...if you could even manage to put up with the constant feedings every day from dawn to dusk. It was looking like something we really couldn't do.

And yet she was encouraging that if the bird was to have a chance that momma birds will come to the rescue quite often. She thanked me for loving wildlife enough to have given it a try and I felt relieved for having given it a try.  Baby bird was restless in its box and was calling for mom quite vigorously now—something I wasn't seeing it do before. He was getting stronger from the attention, Reiki and feedings we had given him and so we brought him back.

I kept hearing Donna Summers in my psychic music box as we got ready to leave and after:

"Oh go on now go, walk out the door.
Just turn around now
'cause you're not welcome anymore.
Weren't you the one who tried
to break me with goodbyes?
you think I'd crumble?
you think I'd lay down and die?

Oh no not I.
I will survive.
Oh as long as I know how to love
I know I'll stay alive.
I got all my life to live
and I got all my love to give.
and I'll survive. I will survive."

I felt good about the baby bird's survival and much better about our own as well.

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