Empty Nest

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Bean has gone to camp! That is Bean, as in Jilly Bean, my niece. Other than staying at my house, this is the first time Bean has ever spent a night away from home without her parents. And she doesn't recall ever spending a night away without her sister... So, it's a big deal y'all. A real big deal.

Since Camp Hummingbird (that would be our house) is only about an hour from where she will be going to camp, she spent the night with us the night before. So of course asked her what she wanted for breakfast since it would be her last breakfast with family. She ordered Uncle Jack's pancakes and that is exactly what she got.

And a Dr. Pepper.

Uncle Jack believes all good meals taste better with a Dr. Pepper. Bean thinks so, too.

We had a good morning and all was going smooth, we were actually right on time and enjoying our terrific sugar high. Until....

Until...



A baby bird was found on the ground. It had literally been blown right out of its nest. The wind that morning was just out of control. For a while I had forgotten I lived in the Hill Country and thought I was still in West Texas...

The poor little baby had fire ants on him which we quickly brushed away. Other than that, he seemed to be okay. Uncle Jack got the binoculars and searched and searched up in the trees to see if he could spot a nest. We wanted to try to get that baby back with its mama. The tree in front of our house is at least 100 years old and very, very tall. We finally thought we could spot the nest, but it was almost at the very top of the tree. There was no way we could get it up that high. We also had the task of keeping it away from the cats.

And of course, all this is going on while the clock is ticking away and we needed to get Bean to camp. I mean come on - we had to get her there early so she could claim the best bunk....

So I grab a shoebox and give it to Bean and tell her to gather some hay as quickly as she can from one of the round bales behind the house. As she's collecting hay, I can feel the body temperature of the baby bird really dropping. We're just in a panic about saving its life.


As Bean gets the baby nestled in its new nest, I get the heating pad and lay the shoebox on top of it. We have got to get on the road, and decide the best thing to do is get the baby bird warm and let it sleep and de-stress for a bit.




I gently lay a washcloth over the bird to hopefully provide the sensation that it's his mama on top of him. With the heating pad warm and the baby covered, we tell it goodbye and say a little prayer and hope he survives.



And then the Bean is ready to go... Off to camp all by herself. She's ecstatic, and we're all a bundle of nerves. What if she doesn't like it? What if she get homesick? What if ....





We arrive! It's just beautiful. I decide I want to go to camp, too.... In fact, I told Bean that I thought I would have some free time later in the week and would come spend the night with her. You know - just sneak into the place, blend with the other kids... I told Bean we could easily fit into her bunk.
She said NO.




This is One happy little girl! She actually couldn't get rid of us quick enough... She kept saying, "I'm fine, you can go now."





This camp even has an aviary! Is there a mama in there that could use an extra baby?




I loved this sculpture of children on a park bench. Look at the camp guide book also on the bench.




Bean has her bed made and is ready for the week! But she didn't get to claim her own bunk. We had her all prepared to elbow her way in there and claim the best spot in the house - I mean cabin. These people actually have you draw for your bed... What kind of civilized camp is this? And speaking of cabins, they call the cabins at this camp tee pees. I thought to myself how the Natives would have loved this tee pee with a Stearns & Foster mattress, air conditioner, indoor plumbing, hot shower...


We kiss and say our goodbyes, and my sister has been a basket case ever since. She's never gone this long without seeing or talking to her daughter. I'm not at all worried about Bean, but I'm sure worried about her mother!


On the way home I called Lisa to ask her advice on how to take care of the baby bird. Lisa knows everything about wildlife - she does, after all, have Tink and his (I mean, her) siblings living in her house. She tells me how to feed baby bird when I get home - provided he's still alive. She asks me what kind of bird it is and I tell her he's probably a little songbird. I didn't exactly check out the baby that well, I was just happy we found him and were able to get the fire ants off of him. I mean, come on - I'm not the wikipedia of baby birds. The poor thing doesn't even have feathers, yet. I did notice he had some big feet, but I wasn't going to focus on that. I figured, well he's a songbird with big feet; I wasn't going to already start focusing on his flaws. Come on - he's just a baby. We were just happy that the stork brought us a baby. Big feet or small feet, we didn't care...


As soon as we got home I rushed into the house as quickly as I could, hesitating for just a second before I uncover the baby.
Is there any life?
Please let the baby be alive.....



He's alive! And he's hungry!!!





And now he's mad! Feed me something, WOMAN! Don't you know what a hungry bird looks like?

Well, he ate.... and ate.... and ate. We fed him soggy, mushed up cat chow with tweezers. You know, all infants really are the same. As long as their little needs are being met, they're perfectly happy. If they're being loved, kept warm, and fed - and of course clean, they're just as happy as pigs in mud.



Although we loved this baby and wanted to keep him, we knew we couldn't handle feedings every 15 minutes which is what Lisa said they had to have. And this little guy was a big eater! So we drove him to the Wildlife Rescue, figuring they could provide better care - and who knows, maybe even some brothers and sisters.

As soon as we get there, the folks at Wildlife Rescue thank us tremendously for bringing him in; they said that most people would have not gone to the effort to save a baby bird. I just don't understand that...

Anyway - they tell us what kind of bird he is....

Take a guess....



A roadrunner! A roadrunner with very normal sized feet...

So, the way I look at it is that 2 babies have gone to camp - One to Camp Wildlife Rescue and the other to Summer Camp.

And two mamas are longing for their babies that aren't in the nest...

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