Thursday, October 23, 2008
His Eye is on the Sparrow
...and the hummingbirds, too.
I got home from my RioLink (cell group) tonight to find that Ted had rescued a tiny little hummingbird while doing a side job. [Sidenote: DRATS if my camera isn't dead and I can't find the usb charger or cable!!!!] I think it's a juvenile. But so tiny, it's hard to tell. And I think he (she?--pretty green back so I'm going with he) should've quit these parts for warmer climes by now--it was about 30 degrees F this morning. I have been home for about 2 hours and have fed it homemade 'nectar' about every 15 minutes...I just covered his little cage.
His cage used to belong to Chuck. Chuck was a lesser goldenrod that was a baby we rescued about 3 years ago at a backyard Bible Club/VBS. We named him Chuck because I was wearing Chuck Taylors when I nearly stepped on him. He was so pitiful looking and didn't even have pin feathers. We tried, and I mean tried hard, to put him back in his nest, but we just couldn't. The trees in the park were brand new, with a trunk about 1" in diameter and about 15' tall...and the nest was in the tip top of one of those trees. Even standing on each other's shoulders, we couldn't reach the nest. The kids begged, I told them he would die and I finally relented. Tanner put him in a little sauce pan with lots of cotton batting next to a lava lamp overnight, so excited as only a 9-year-old can be. When he was alive the next morning, I softened up dry cat food in water and stuffed it in his little gullet. His craw swelled up so much the first time, I thought I killed him. He began to get so excited every time I came near his cage, he would flutter and flap and "CHEEP." I was his momma bird, for sure. He imprinted on me. His feathers came in. He never really knew he was a bird. He also thought he was just as big as we were, even though he was only about 2" high with wingspan of about 5". We taught him to fly. While I worked, he would ride my hand while I worked the computer mouse or sit on my shoulder and play with my earrings and kiss me. He loved iced tea (it was kind of like birdy cocaine--he would sneak some out of Ted's afterwork glass every chance he got). And artichoke leaves (his back was the same color as a fresh one). And baths in an old peanut butter lid. After his bath he would be so wet, as would my counter and everything within a 3' radius, he couldn't even fly. When I would put him in his cage (he didn't really like his cage, but had to stay there when we couldn't pay attention to him or left the house) he would scold me for a little bit and then preen and talk to the pretty birdie in the mirror. When I would come back into the empty house after running errands, he would say "CHEEP" just once to let me know he was there and ready to come out and keep me company. Early in January after we found him (in June), the ceiling fan was on...fast. We generally didn't have it on at all, and I don't know why it was on then. I snapped my fingers and told him "cage" and he flew up to the fan where he would perch when he didn't want to go to bed. Chuck was killed instantly. I was absolutely devastated. For days, everytime I came into the house alone, I would listen for the "CHEEP." I took to leaving music playing while I was gone so I wouldn't have to come home to a quiet house. Sometimes I still listen for him. And then, along came Claire....
All 0f my babies are no longer babies. I have an innate need to mother and nurture. And as much as my eye is on these tiny creatures of God, His is even ever more aware, ever more watchful. And he cares for me (and YOU!) infinitely more.
I don't think I'm ready to take on the care of another baby bird. Physically, it's too hard for me to even take proper care of my family yet. And from everything I've found on google, the little guy won't survive more than 72 hours on my homemade nectar. And even if he did, it's violating all kinds of federal and state wildlife ordinances to keep him. I'll call a wildlife rescue center tomorrow. But just for tonight, I have a new little charge to watch over. And marvel at the way that God has designed this tiny little thing, whose tongue is about the diameter of a piece of embroidery floss and whose feet are smaller than my shortest eyelashes. He is such a perfect little creature, such a beauty and joy. A love note to me from God. He never ceases to pursue me...