Friday, 20 April 2012

The sadder side of Spring

Occasionally I get the feeling these days that maybe we do have Spring, even if the weather is decidedly colder and wetter than normal. My pansies are doing really well. Perhaps it's deluded of me to think this but I swear their cheery faces are predominantly turned towards my window rather than to the sun. Really, I talk to them out of my window and deadhead when necessary and in return they seem to turning more towards me. They certainly get my full attention as it's too risky to plant anything else yet, in case we continue to have frosty spells.

Spring is dangerous for birds, especially baby birds that haven't fledged. The winds have been up and JC's dog is always prowling for prey. Something caused two nests to end up on the ground. One was empty by the time we found it , the other contained three baby birds still alive but clearly dehydrated and worn out. JC said they'd only die so leave them, but I couldn't. Every little creature deserves an opportunity to survive a dangerous situation when I find it. I can't turn away because I can't stand suffering and injustice. I held the damp nest and watched JC drive off to do some chores.

I wondered what he thought I would do, then forgot about that and did what I knew was inevitable for me. I tried to keep the babies alive. They were very tired and didn't want to be bothered but one was bunched up on top of the other two and seemed more determined, a little stronger so I put most of my energies into that one and a bit on the others.

JC had no eyedropper in the house so I used a cotton bud. Water didn't interest them so I tried milk. Too bad if they didn't like it, they needed nourishing. I had the dickens of a time trying to get them to open their beaks because I wasn't speaking the right language. I persistently rubbed the sides of their beaks and nudged their lower beaks. They wet their tongues only and didn't swallow much.

I grubbed desperately with my bare hands searching for small worms in the garden. There weren't many but I found two and washed them. The babies weren't interested and I didn't think me chewing one up and spitting it out was going to be more successful so I didn't try. I felt very uneasy for their future but it was warmer in the house and the stronger one gained energy and showed some interest in his surroundings. His little cheeps were so delightful.

JC came home and found the 'bird lady' with a nest on his dining table. He grabbed and ladder and popped the nest as high as he could out of reach of the dog but she knew they were there. She had probably known for weeks and had bided her time.

The next morning I could hear a tweeting and the dog was practically glued to the bushes. I saw the mother bird flitting around inside and so decided to leave her undisturbed for a bit. Not good. Five minutes later there was a horrified tweeting. We dashed over to encourage the dog to let it go. Eventually she dropped it on the ground. It wasn't mother bird. It was the strongest baby mortally wounded and greatly suffering. I was told to put it in the rubbish bin but that seemed so unfeeling to me even if it might be a practical thing. I cuddled it warm but it was dead within 30 seconds. I missed feeling its heart beating strongly against my skin.

I burst into tears. Nature is cruel I know (I'm an ex-cat owner) but if you try to save creatures you risk forming an emotional attachment. I'd rather cry than feel nothing at all. In the past I've been quite successful in saving small injured and sick animals. It's a great feeling when you succeed. I think JC was surprised I was so upset. I handed him the bird because I didn't know what to do with it and he was impatient for lunch. I supposed it ended up in the rubbish bin. Burying it in the garden would not have been a good idea with a dog around. One that buries pieces of bread and dead rabbits and pigeons. I don't like coming across those crawling with maggots.

JC discovered later that he'd forgotten to put a battery in the new dog collar which normally would stop the dog from entering the bushes. What a shame.


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