Thursday, June 10, 2010

Improving My Track Record, I Hope...

As the little sparrows release date draws near slight anxiety is starting to set in. What will that day be like? Will she have a fighting chance against the predators in the wild? Will little sparrow be capable of finding her own food? Will she fly like a bird that was taught by experienced flyer's? I mean, I wont even fly in an airplane! This is the blind teaching the blind here! I have a lot of worries... I can only do my best and then she will have to do the rest. When you love something you must set it free.

My anxiety is well earned as I recall a similar release day just a few years ago. Sissy was about three years old. She had been playing out on the back patio. I had the screen door open while I was working in the kitchen. She came running into the house. "Momma, I found something big and wonderful", she said. I walked over to her as she made careful steps in my direction. In her hands was the rare majestic Luna moth. Its large lime green wings were a beautiful site.

"Can we keep it", she pleaded. I told sissy that she could not keep it at all, especially in the house. I gently placed the Luna into a wide mouth mason jar as sissy took off to search for the Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders. Even as early as three Sissy knew that this was indeed a moth and not a butterfly as she skipped right passed the butterfly section. Finally she found the perfect match... a beautiful glossy photo of a Luna moth. Sis sat next to me as we read all about the species. She was tickled pink to find something so beautiful.

Then I told Sissy it was time to let it go. We went outside to the corner of the driveway facing a large field with tall grasses. I gently threw the beautiful moth into the deep blue sky. Sissy and I stood there just absorbing the moment, watching this majestic creature take flight back into the wild. It truly was a heart felt special moment for us both...

In the midst of our awe and amazement out of the corner of my eye, in all my horror, I see a bird. Like a flash of lightening it just swooped down and gobbled up our moth! Right there in front of us! Just picture the scene from Madagascar with the crocodile and the duck! I shrieked and Sissy screamed out "that bird ate my moth"! Needless to say "Mommy was the evil villain that set it free... TO BE EATEN"

So yes, anxiety is well earned.

We are taking the sparrow out tomorrow for a test run. Although I am sure little sparrows release will be soon, I know that it wont be tomorrow. The Pin feathers on the left wing have not filled out completely (properly) and I am not sure how well she will due on her right leg. It is splayed which isn't from nutrition but was noticed the day we found her. I should know something very soon if our little one will be able to return to the wild or find refuge at the Wildlife Center. Ideally, I would love to see a little sparrow fly by and wonder if it is her or not but if that isn't possible, she would make a great learning tool for the refuge. Either way I hope our track record improves.


  1. Hi Leigh,
    I don't think that the little tyke will require flying lessons it'll come do it like a 'duck to water', but you'll still have to feed him after he? has flown the nest (teenagers eh?). You done a great job so far, oh and to have free bird humming from my speakers as I read, so apt and the memories of a very mis-spent youth just flooded back.

  2. I can not believe this little guy. I am SO impressed, and my faith in attempting to save these little things has been restored. Never again will I feel like it's hopeless. You've done what you can - let go and let God, as my mother would have said. Whatever happens to him now is not up to you!
    But thanks for the uplift. I needed that!

  3. Thanks guys! Today we did our test run and let me tell you I hope my next blog post does the story justice. Today was so cool! It was like the birds allowed me for the first time to look into their world... Maybe it was actually just I opening my eyes for the first time. I am still not sure how much longer until she will be ready, she still isnt feeding on her own at all and like I said before the feathers havent filled out completely on one of the wings... although I see changes in the wing every day. I saw a lot of progress today but it isnt near enough to maintain survival in the wild. Time will tell.
    John, I am not sure if it is male or female, I probably shouldnt be so gender specific in these post. I really should look that up. Thanks for reminding me!

    Its not youth unless it is misspent. But dont remind me of this when I am blogging 10 years down the road about my teenagers! Haha ;)

  4. WHOA! This is so awesome. Look at the little guy. You've done good.

  5. I'll bet he, or she as the case may be, makes it. Mother Nature has a way of taking care of those things. Once long ago I had a baby blackbird that had fallen from a nest. I put it in a cardboard box, and set it up on a brick wall where the dogs couldn't reach it. Every day the parents would come and feed it, and then one day it just flew away with them.

  6. You`ve done so well with the little guy!

  7. Bob Mc, Feral Female, and Ben
    Thanks. I agree Bob. I think it will all work out the way it is meant to... the dogs arent a real concern of mine and now that Ben has promised not to eat it... my biggest concern is now just the cat! ;)
    Thanks for following!

  8. I can't imagine this little bird not making it, in your care. It truly is a special experience to "connect" with a wild animal. You've done that and I believe the bird knows you are helping him/her. Just make sure Applesauce is in the house for the big moment of release! Can't wait to hear about it. I couldn't believe the story of Sissy and the moth. Bless her heart, for having to see such an awful thing, at such a young age. It's life, but I like letting kids have a carefree attitude as long as possible. We have to grow up and face some cruel realities, but no sooner than we HAVE TO. I so hope, that letting the sparrow go, she will see the bird fly away and that will replace the unpleasant memory of what happened to the Luna Moth with a more positive and happy memory.