A Child's Birdís Story
"Feed me, no me. Iím first, no Iím first. Move over. I want some more." Shove. Scramble. Jostle. Stomp. "Donít push me!" Teeter, totter, stumble, flap, flap, no place to
grip onto; out she goes; too immature to fly. Falling! Crash!
A whack of hardness on her breast knocks her breathless. Stunned she gasps for air. Moves as best she can; the dirt; the blinding sunlight. Sheís cold; a black figure, a flurry of screeching, squee, squee, squee, sharp blows to her naked body.
The black figure
The ground is flecked with blood; more shrill shrieks, ree, ree, ree, more horrible hits; then "Get away, get off", the black shape leaps away, the screams rise, fade away, an unfamiliar entity casts a shadow over her, a curious sensation being lifted. "Ah. Itís dark again, warm."She doesnít move, canít move; feels softness, rhythmic beating. "Where am I? My back hurts; momma, where are you, my brothers, my warm bed? I wanta go home." Then mysterious sounds, sounds she doesnít recognize, has never heard before: ―
"There, there, be still. Iíve got you. You are so, so young, so small. Where do you live, whoís your momma, where do you belong, in which house?"
All the dwellings look the same; there must be twenty or more, built of mud and straw with one front entrance lined up like tenements. The original builders/owners, the barn swallows, have moved away, this is the second wave of occupants. Rent is free, shopping for food is nearby. Inquiring at each would be useless; perhaps, one less mouth to feed in these demanding times could be, alas, an instance of good fortune for a large family in distress.
"Itís not safe to put you into the wrong house; youíd be cast out, Iíll take you home with me, to my house; there, there, be still little one Iíll take care of you."
Momma always said that I was the littlest but the smartest of the six in the nest. All Mommasí know their children. My brothers big strong but she favored me, the petite girl one. But, it was always so difficult to get my full share of the food thatís how it goes in a male dominated world. Daddy favored his sons not saying he ignored me but thatís how it went in the nest box, the boys were all over me when it came time for food. I admit though, they did keep me warm. It was just so hard to get to the beaks at feeding time. I was swarmed over getting only leftovers, scraping the bottom of the croup for what was left from the findings of the day. I would like to go to sleep full just once.
Inside a nest.
A bird Mommaís birds eye view of hungry babies.
And thatís how it happened that day that I fell out of the nest at feeding time, rescued from the Brewer Black Bird, adopted by a new Momma, in a new home, lots of food, different but good. Now I was sleeping alone warm comfortably without being under the bottoms of other bodies. I must say that there was not a feather around me like my first momma fluffed up over us, but the comforts were luxurious.
About now I should tell you that I am not the greatest thinker, I just learn fast. The new words that I use and you will read are a result of hearing a new vocabulary in a new language; I apply them here in my story so that the flow is not interrupted as I relate to you this grand adventure. I will continue to dictate: My human momma will do the typing. Now I return to the events after my rescue:
I remember: the bleeding places on my naked back hurt. I felt a soothing something on my back, the pain faded away, being placed on a soft yellow thing, I learned it was called a towel, put in a green nest box, a strawberry basket, covered up like in a baby in a blanket. I was all but invisible. There was warmth beneath me that drifted up to surrounded me, a heating pad, but I was hungry, I was so hungry, wanted the beak to come feed me. No beak. I was starved:
My first meal in my new home
Something was touching the sides of my beak, a dropper, I, without thinking opened up, the warmth slid down my gullet. Not like mommaís cooking but I was so hungry that I opened up wide, more warm food drained into my throat down into my croup. Each time I opened up more good stuff was there for me. I didnít even have time to peep "me, me". At last, my croup was bulging, for the first time I must admit I was full then so sleepy. And that was that. All became dark, warm, no pain; I fell into an out-of- this-world sleep hearing strange sounds as I drifted off.
I had a dream; birds dream too, it was not so alarming. I canít remember the details like location, time of day or weather, but there was papa feeding momma who would be feeding my brothers, I was waving, they got smaller and smaller faded away as I was taking leave of my old home to find a new life, in a strange land with a strange big new momma. Bye, bye. Was it a dream or a-to-be reality? A dream turned into a reality.
Telling this story now, looking back, I have learned a new collection of words and facts that may seem quite unusual in the telling. Trust me, it is all true. My momma told me. I had to give up so much of the bird culture and venture into another way of life. Adjust to being one of two, and not of the unlimited flock. I didnít know this at first but I learned to love my new culture, customs, boy is it different. Such as:
No longer the flock mentality, it was more individualistic. I could be me without fighting for it; falling into line and following some mysterious leader, I could eat when I wanted, sleep when I was tired, fly where and when I desired. I canít say it was easy. My unconscious collective memory kept being in my way: I had to learn that Momma was my flock.
A flock of me