Monday, May 9, 2011

Saving Henry, or, An Afternoon with a Rose-Breasted Grosebeak

This afternoon I was pushing Little Dude on the swing and adjusting the trapeze bar to the perfect height for Cherry Pie when I saw our yearling cat Bo, scurry alongside the house with something in his mouth. I nudged closer, wondering if it was the large brown bat that had been flying around a few days in broad daylight, worrying me with thoughts of rabies on wings.

When I approached I saw this. Or rather, an even sadder version of this. A beautiful rose-breasted grosebeak ooking limp and quite possibly dead.

I shooed away the cat -- repeatedly -- and summoned 8-year-old Addster to fetch Baby Boy's toy basket, sans toys I called for Cherry•Pie to bring the porch broom, which I wielded to keep Bo the cat at a distance.

Then Addster returned, upturning the basket over the bird to give it shelter for recovery. We waited and periodically checked on the birdie, each time finding him a little stronger. Our newest foster son Little Dude, who is Obsessed With Birdies, by now left the coveted yellow swing and found this part of the rescue exceptionally entertaining Eventually we realized that not only could the birdie hop a little, but Little Dude actually may begin to pose more of a danger than the feline predator. I pictured George with the bunny.

So off we went down the road. The middle of the road, which you can do in the countryside to find a new home for the biedie that didn't feature a still- hungry cat perched in the branches of the cedar overhead. (We offered cat food, the cheap grocery store dry variety, but kitty wasn't having it.)

First we gave everyone a chance to briefly and gently pet the birdie, who by now was christened Henry. I had already googled to learn that imprinting human smell is only a major concern with juvenile birds.

Finally Henry hopped away, with a bit of a leftward tilt, only to circle around and rest on my shoe. (Yes, those are my pajama pants. At 3 in the afternoon. Why do you ask?)

Then Little Dude freaked out because he wanted one last chance to see the birdie! birdie! birdie! Which was OK because I remembered forgetting to show him to Baby Boy who was riding on my back in my Ergo Baby Carrier the whole time.

So Addster scooped up Henry one more time. When he bit her, we figured that was a clear sign he was feeling better and ready to go.

This time Henry hopped into a clump of trout lilies, then flitted over a mass of red trillium and wood violets. Satisfied Henry was happier, we bid him adieu. Until Grandma pulled into our driveway, at which point the children insisted upon bringing her to the woods and repeating the whole farewell ceremony.

Enjoy your new home, Henry Grosebeak.

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