Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rescue the Perishing

Avian Rehab Accommodations
We live in a hunting community, where the pheasants are thicker than Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds. Dead, wild animals adorn the walls of nearly every home and commercial establishment within a 250 mile radius. Beasts with four feet, fins, or feathers are all considered “trophies.” And little boys grow up longing for the day they will bag their own beast and hang it on their wall.

I have three of those little boys, and as such, no moving creature on our acreage is safe. Armed with all manner of weapon, sling shot, homemade bow and occasionally the bb gun, the boys prowl through trees and grass hoping to eliminate the pests that dig holes in our yard, eat our garden and haplessly present themselves as targets.

Last week as they were on the prowl, a young robin fell victim to the little band of hunters. Having been instructed by their father not to shoot song birds, they were immediately alarmed and began to assess the bird’s health.

Lo and behold, in the vigorous hunt the bird’s leg had been severed at the “knee” or whatever you call it on a bird. Amazingly he was still alive.

Seeing his suffering, the boys dropped their weapons, and immediately went into rescue mode. I first noticed the carnage when my three little animal EMTs came pounding up the deck stairs with our neighbor boy toting the bird-gurney—a cardboard box taped shut at the top. They ran into the house, grabbed a screwdriver and before I could ask questions they proceeded to stab15 holes in the top of the box for ventilation.

Exploding with excitement they relayed the story, as all good hunters do.

Then they opened the box. There, was the traumatized, one-and-a-half-legged bird.

As I peered into the box, I noticed a loose bird leg sliding around in the corner of the box. Naturally I inquired, “What is that!?”

“It’s the leg from a black bird that was already dead! We’re going to put it on the robin… because a little hop is better than not being able to walk at all.”

A little hop…? “How are you going to do that?” I probed.

The four boys looked at each other, then at me and questioned, “Glue?...or maybe tape? Can you sew it, Mom?” I confessed I could not.

My little hunting party, turned EMTs, were now attempting to craft a prosthesis for their prey turned patient.

To hasten his recovery the little crew retrieved two vacant birdhouses from the garage and nailed them together making a sort of aviary condo. (see picture).

They relocated the bird to its new surroundings despite the squawking. My youngest stroked its little head and the squawking ceased (out of fear rather than comfort I suspect.) Noting the bird’s silence, my youngest whispered, “See, he trusts me.”

Oh certainly!

I am sad to report that before the scheduled prosthetic surgery, the bird passed. Upon hearing of his passing, my middle boy lamented, “I knew we should have fed him something else!”

Alas, we rejoice that he is well and whole in Heaven. And I personally rejoice to know that my little hunters do have a little heart.

This post is linked up to The MOB Society's "Let's Hear it for the Boys!" Thursdays.


  1. Oh, that's awesome! You are so good at telling stories, Shauna.

    1. Glad you got a chuckle, Anita. I had to stifle mine : ) Never a dull moment!

  2. I"m very impressed by those boys and their compassion:) You've got some great story material in their antics.