Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What I did over my summer vacation (sort of)....

Last weekend, I traveled back to my hometown, where my parents still live, to celebrate a milestone high school reunion. The organizers had plenty of things for us to do the entire holiday: hometown semi-pro baseball game, with fireworks afterward; a city-wide "Picnic in the Park" with bands, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, exotic animals on display; get-togethers for our class with an outdoor stage with entertainment; dinners with friends; and last but not least, the actual reunion dinner on Saturday night. I was exhausted when I got back home, but with the sweetest of memories of everyone who made it back to the reunion. It really was a great holiday weekend!

But what was the most special to me was finding two baby robins that fell out of the tree in my parents' backyard while I was home. I found the first one just by accident. I had taken Miss Autumn (my Greyhound) for a walk, and was on my way to dispose of her 'poopy bag' when I almost stepped on the first baby buried in the grass. (Thankfully, because of all the rain, my father hadn't been able to mow the lawn, so it was quite high and thick, which not only may have protected the baby when it fell, but also kept it rather concealed from any predators.) I picked it up and could see/hear the Momma screaming and carrying on in the lower tree branches above me. 

Also near this tree, my parents had planted this hydrangea plant (above) in the hopes of eventually covering up some gas meter piping, but it's still rather small. Behind it is a planter of my mother's (and mine) favorite hot pink 'wave' petunias. With no place else to put the baby, and plenty of cats in the area, I thought hiding it in the flower planter was the best place. The baby was tiny and altho it had its feathers, it didn't look too healthy, but I wanted to give Momma the best chance to feed it, and the planter was in the shade from about 10am on, so the baby would be protected from the elements. I had no sooner placed the first baby in the planter, and turned around to go back inside, when I saw another little fuzzy head jumping in the grass. Sure enough! ...another little baby. Scooped the second one up and put it in the planter. It was much bigger than the first, and they both started screaming when I placed the second one in there, and the bigger of the two, jumped out! Yikes! Were they from two different nests??? I didn't know. Just then my mother came out and she put them both together in the planter and they snuggled into each other. Ahhhh...nothing like a mother's loving touch, right?

(click on any of the photos
to see an enlarged version)

And all this time, Momma Robin is up in the trees just a-screamin' and hollerin'. All the commotion brought around several other robins into the trees and on the rooftops. But once the babies were quiet, all the hovering adults calmed down, too. And shortly afterward, while we watched out the window, Momma came and started feeding them. Whew! 

But we had no idea how long they had been out of the nest, and anytime we got near them, or even our shadows crossed over the planter, their little mouths would pop open and start chirping, thinking Momma had come to feed them. So, to help out Mother Nature a little bit, my father had an AHA! moment --- he got out his home-made electric prod and stuck it in the ground (W-A-Y away from the babies, mind you!) and the next thing you know, here come all these worms up out of the ground. (The prod was something he made to gather worms when he's going fishin'...the electric current carries thru the damp soil, and the worms bore up to the surface hoping to get away from it.) So to help out Momma feed her brood, and get them healthy and hearty and able to fly sooner, in between Momma's visits, we would feed them the worms from the ground. 

And not to gross you out or anything, but you CANNOT believe how many worms those little buggers could eat! Holy Cow! But once they'd get their fill of food, they'd settle down and hide under the plants and be quiet as falling snow, which protected them from the neighborhood cats. And even though she couldn't express herself, I think Momma Robin was thankful too....she didn't have to work so hard to keep them fed, which in turn kept them quiet and safe. Win-win!

Shortly after I returned home, my parents let me know that one morning they went out to feed the babies, but they were both gone and they scoured the entire area looking to see if the babies were hiding in some weeds or under bushes, but no sign of them, and no Momma making noises from the surrounding trees. So we don't know if they're OK or not, but we'd like to think they're safe and finally about to take flight on their own....God willing.

So now, when asked what I did for my summer vacation, have I got a tale to tell or what?

Thankful for the little part we played in helping Mother Nature
raise her young'uns!

PS: Today, the temperatures hit 91° but the humidity is only 46%! I think that has to be a record for around here...I've never seen temps that high with a humidity reading that low. NEVER!

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