Tiny bird reminds of miracle of life

Published 1:10 am Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The baby bird was terrified and a little cold. I cupped it in my hands, sharing my body warmth with it.

He, and I don’t know it was a he but it felt like it to me, settled in my palm. My hands rested in my lap as I sat motionless in the middle of my closet floor.

This was not how I planned to spend part of my Mother’s Day, but nature, the universe, God, something had a different plan. So, I sat on a Sunday afternoon cradling a little speck of life and pondering big things.

Before I move to ponderings, let tell you how all of this started. It was Saturday near lunchtime and my husband was outside doing weekly outside stuff, which this day included replacing aging deck boards.

Off and on, I heard the sound of the saw coming from the front yard where he was cutting replacement boards. Suddenly I heard him calling me.

“Hey, Nance come here,” he yelled. “We’ve got a problem and I don’t know what to do.”

Don’t know why, but my mind immediately leapt to tragedy. I raced to the front of the house half expecting to find some kind of saw-related injury. What I found was my husband holding his gloved hands in an odd-looking position.

“Did you cut yourself?” I said racing up out of breath. “Are you OK?”

“No, I didn’t cut myself,” he answered with an exasperated sigh (he knows I’m always imagining he’s hurt himself.) “This is the problem and I don’t know what to do.”

He lifted his top hand and I saw a tiny head peeking out.

“This baby bird was on the ground and it’s been there for a while,” he said. “There was another one, but it’s dead and ants are starting to get on it.”

He said he’d watched for a mother bird, but she was a no-show. Finally, fearing the ants or one of our cats would soon discover the bird, he scooped it up and brought it to me.

Turned out it was a baby mourning dove that, from what we could see, fell from a partially destroyed nest in an oak tree. It had most of its feathers with just a little soft fuzz left on its head.

So that’s how I ended up in the closet on Mother’s Day nursing a baby bird. Now to my ponderings as I sat with this bit of life cuddled in my hands.

As I watched the breath move in and out, causing the slightest rise and fall of its tiny body, the realization that the same breath moving through me was breathing this bird. We were, the two of us, created from the same spark of divine energy, part of one great whole of creation.

In that moment, watching this creature breath and hearing its soft whistling cries, I felt a deep connection to it. It was beyond me, the human, and it, the bird. It was, in that moment, a joining of spirits, a sense that the energy that makes all life was holding us both.

I placed him in a substitute shoebox nest. He settled in beside the stuffed animal in the corner. I eased the top down and slipped out of the closet.

Through the rest of the afternoon and evening I returned to check on him. A couple of times I fed him what a search on Google suggested you feed a baby morning dove in an emergency situation. He ate a little; enough I hoped to keep him alive.

On Monday, I delivered him to the wonderful folks at Big Bend Wildlife Rescue. They placed him in an incubator and said he looked good.

Now reflecting on my Sunday in the closet with this baby dove, I think the experience was a gift to me from that source of divine energy, a Mother’s Day reminder that life is a miracle and it is a blessing to be alive.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.