The Bluebird of Happiness
Visits the Lester / Del Rosario Household
-- Day 3--
Well, we're on day 3, and I'm happy to report that the little birdie is doing just fine!
I had thought these are bluebirds as the mother and father have beautiful blue and gray plumage. However, I have found out from my ex-neighbor's boyfriend that they are Scrub Jays --- he said that bluebirds or bluejays are not found in Southern California.
Still don't know the gender but I am calling it "he" for the time being, until we figure that detail out.
"He" is getting stronger every day --- learning to walk a little, although his spindly legs are still very weak and shaky; and he has begun to shake and fluff his wings as if ready to fly already!
I put a small twig in his nest and have been "teaching" him how to stand on it. It's slow going, but he has figured out how to curl his toes around it. Balancing is another matter!
I'll do another update in a week or so, so tune back in around the end of the month.
Well, some sad news...
I came in after running a couple of errands this afternoon and found that the little birdling had died. Odd, because before I left it was just fine -- it ate, was stirring around in its little box-nest, etc. -- seemed comfortable. But for whatever reason, it expired.
It did not appear to have struggled, in fact I thought at first that it was just asleep as it looked quite peaceful. But when it did not start chirping at me as it always would do when I would come in here, I got a little concerned. I picked it up and it was very, very still. It had not been dead for very long as it was warm and limp, so at first I was not sure it was dead. I thought it might be in a deep sleep or perhaps unconscious.
I tried to rouse it, to no avail. I checked it with a stethoscope and could hear no heartbeat or breathing or other sounds of life. I laid it back down and observed it for a few minutes, shook it gently, even sprinkled a little lukewarm water on it to see if that would bring it around, but nothing happened.
So I placed it in the little box I had made for it, wrapped the box in a plastic bag, and said a little wake for the fluffy little angel that had come into my life for a very short but sweet time. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust..."
Thus, this little saga has ended a bit sadly. However, I am glad that I was able to make the nestling comfortable and warm for a few days, that it did not have to die out in the wild on the cold ground where other animals might get at it. I do believe it had a happy few days before it "flew the coop" to that great bird-cage in the sky...
I guess I'm a bit silly and sentimental but I do feel a little sad and did of course shed a tear over this. And I disinfected and saved the stick I had provided for its little perch, where it was just learning how to stand on. Just as a little reminder of how nice it felt to be able rescue it and care for it, even if for just a short time.
I received a very kind email with a comforting explanation from a member of the Audubon Society, whom I had been sharing the bird story with. She wrote:
"We are saddened to hear about the loss of the Scrub Jay. Please don't feel guilty -- I'm sure you did everything possible. Shock (not always apparent) is usually the number one factor in rescued bird mortality.
"In the introduction to the book "Care of the Wild Feathered and Furred", Stephen Levine writes: 'Even an experienced wildlife veterinarian is incapable of saving the majority of wildliings brought to him; 35 percent survival is considered high. ..... 'Because a wildling stays alive that does not mean he is not dying....'Behavior may appear normal until death .....'Even in the wild two out of three birds die in their first year'"
Again, thank you for caring.....
And thank all of YOU, who shared in this story, both the happiness and the sadness, for caring, as well.
Below is the last photo of the bird, taken just that morning before it died.
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