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We saved four baby blue jays over the weekend.

Now, some people may not like blue jays - they can be pests, they can hurt other birds (but apparently, not as often as people think), and they're noisy - but I love them, despite their faults. They're beautiful (not that that is an excuse), and when they're happy, they sing a gorgeous liquid trill of notes completely unlike their normal shriek. But most important, they are wildlife, and I am a sucker for living things.

It started when a friend called, and said two baby birds were outside her door, they looked dead or paralyzed, and was there anything we could do? I explained (not knowing what they looked like at the time) that sometimes, baby birds fall out of a nest and die, because that's how nature is. I also said we'd come over and take care of things, because aforementioned friend is very tender and can't deal with dying things, even to put them out of their misery.

Cut to friend's house. She's pulling out of the driveway as we come in (she needed to leave for something else), and we promise to deal with stuff and not tell her what we did - and Bob says "they're going to a farm", y'know, like all the Fluffys and Fidos kids have lost over the years - they all live on a farm somewhere, right?

(That's where Thunder the little black rabbit is, dammit. And Michaelangelo the cat. And all the groundhogs "sleeping" by the side of the road. They all go to this farm place. La la la I can't heeeeeeaaaaar yooooooooou...)

Anyway. Friend has left a box, and gloves. And we hear cheeping. I climbed into the bushes, and there are three, no wait, four baby birds, that upon further inspection, look like baby blue jays. Healthy, active, but too young to leave the nest birds. Cute, fluffy, cheeping, big, gawky, can't-perch-on-a-branch-yet bundles of fluff. Wtf?

I box the birds, following wildlife rescue protocol, and put the lid on the box so they're in the dark and not disturbed. Whups, the manic cheeping seems to indicate they don't want the lid on, especially since they calm down when I leave the lid off. Okay, then. We start looking for the nest, hoping to put them back.

It has not occurred to us yet that four birds probably would not have thrown themselves out of the nest under their own steam.

We searched through several bushes and trees, and we heard and saw the mother blue jay nearby, but could not find a nest. With a sinking feeling, I look at the vacant townhouse next to Friend's house, and see bird droppings on top of the first floor window bumpout, but no nest. Bob starts looking for nest remains. He finds two halves of a mud and grass nest in the parking lot, several yards away.

Someone has ripped the nest down, and left the baby birds to die.



Bastards. Do you know, the electric and gas and plumbing companies have a policy of not completing projects if a nest is in the way, and they'll wait until the nestlings have fledged before they start work? There were signs on all our vents on the new house saying as much, and recommending we keep all openings covered, as birds like to nest in such places. We think the real estate agents for the vacant house must have pulled the nest down, as they're apparently getting ready to show the house, and Lord knows, nests and wildlife are ugly and people would never buy a house with a nest on it. [/sarcasm]

I can understand if some of my readers are not particularly moved by the idea of four baby blue jays being unceremoniously dumped from their nest and made homeless, but it's a particularly cruel way to die, and I don't think any of you would deliberately do such a thing, especially if the birds were hatched. I completely understand dismantling a nest before the eggs are laid - the birds will simply build another nest somewhere else - but sentencing four healthy birds to death because they're in the way is too cold, even for a master of evil like me.

So... I wrack my brains, trying to remember if there's an animal shelter/rescue nearby. Then I remember Friskies, the rescue whence I took the baby squirrel in 2007. Yay! But it's a bit of a drive, and we had planned other things. Bob said it didn't matter, and we would be rescuing baby birds.


The ride over was a bit tough for the birds - I didn't have anything to pad the box with, and they huddled together, cheeping at me. As it turned out, they didn't hold with the whole "disturb the wild animal as little as possible" idea, and were happiest when they were sitting in my hand. So I spent the entire ride holding baby birds and cheeping softly at them. Every now and then, they'd pop their heads up and demand food, but baby birds have very specific food demands, and I didn't want to make them sick, so I just apologized and cheeped more at them. I swear to you, if I put them down, they immediately protested - they wanted to ride in my hand, dammit.

Wildlife is not a respecter of the "hands off" policy. Mind you, I'm not trying it with a baby raccoon.

We got to Friskies, and we dropped off the babies with a donation. Friskies Rescue is a non-profit, entirely donation driven wildlife and primate rescue center, run by the seat of their pants and public donations, nothing more. No grants, no nothing. So, if you feel like throwing a little money their way, feel free.

(btw, I think this might be the squirrel I brought in - it has a curled up front paw, just like the one I rescued.)

I forgot to finish the story!  (Sorry, I got distracted.)  So, baby birds actually do end up at a farm.  We called Friend, and left a message to that effect, and she called back, the first words out of her mouth being "You aren't lying to me, are you?  Robert didn't put you up to this to make me feel better?".  Hee.



( 18 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Jun. 30th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
I would fire a realtor who did something so cruel. That is purely evil.
Jun. 30th, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)
I can well believe some horrors would do precisely that. And I really feel for the poor parent birds who would have been helpless to help their little babies. I hope they could sense you would look after their babies.

Having lived with budgies and parrots types I have seen them grieve when one of the flock passes on. What it must be like for the parents when they see their babies at risk I don't know.

I always get a physical stab of pain whenever I see road kill - especially if its a bird. Its mostly pigeons or pheasant - neither of which species have been well endowed with brains, but even so, road users could avoid them more than they do. If they are looking ahead, they should see the bird on the ground and SLOW DOWN. But they don't. I can understand if it was a deer as they literally appear from no where. I don't understand it if its a bird sitting grazing on the ground or a hedgehog or badger wandering across the road. Drivers, if being observant, will SEE the creature moving.

The one time I have hit a creature on the road and fatally injured it was when a snake was happily sunning itself on the side of a country road. There I was, bombing up said road and noticed what I thought was a small branch of a hedge on the side. I tried to avoid it but didn't manage to - and then realised too late it was a grass snake. I immediately turned round to check it and found it was fatally injured and was in clearly in agony. Edmund and I took it to my dad who dealt with the poor creature humanely. Its nearly 2 years since that happened and I still can't forgive myself.

Edmund, my Mum, my Dad and therru who was with us at the time, all said I had no chance of realising what it was as the snake was deliberately camouflaged to look like a small hedge limb but it makes no difference to me. I SHOULD have noticed. I SHOULD have avoided it.

How people can cold heartedly kill an animal or creature, for no reason at all escapes me.

Good on you for rescuing the Jays.

Oh - and Wildlife always ignores the "rule books". My view? Be as hands off as possible, but if they need your touch - then do so. They obviously sensed you were helping them. Again, lets hope their parents sensed you were too.

Word of warning - the parents may make a new nest in the vacant house. It could happen again.
Jun. 30th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC)
What a nice story to read about on a Monda Morning in the sucky work place.

Oh, and a couple of weeks ago I rescued a pond turtle that some nimrod released at an ocean beach. I didn't see the person, but I know this little pond turtle did not cross a a very busy major road with constant traffic ato climb up and then back down a sea wall and go 100 feet in sand to teh oceans edge... only to be flipped over on it's back by the surf. People are stupid.

Jun. 30th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
That's horrible. You have to be pretty heartless to turn out baby birds. I'm so glad you guys were able to help them.

The early babies here just started their first flying lessons last week. They were so cute hopping around in under the shrubs learning to take off. I thought of you everytime I saw them.
Jun. 30th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
That's great you had a place to take them to! We have two resident blue jays that have adopted us for a couple of years now, we call them Mr. Jay and Mrs. Jay. They like to come and eat the dry cat food off the back deck. We actually tried putting out birdseed but they seem to prefer the cat food.

Mr. Jay in particular is quite the character. If there isn't any food (or it's in an awkward place for him to get to) he'll sit on the banister and trill until we put some out. I like their trill too and hey it's free entertainment for the indoor kitties anyway! :P
Jun. 30th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
You did a good thing. I know the birds will survive because of your help.
Jun. 30th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
I had an ex-(thank goodness)-co-worker who really opened my eyes to some of the attitudes that are out there. To her, "wild animal" = "rat, disgusting, cockroach, vermin" and I'm sure she would not have hesitated to "remove" a bird's nest if she thought it could "contaminate" her human environment. ("After all, do you KNOW what those birds do in their nest? Eeeeeuuuwwwww!")

Not a nice person.

I feel sorry for people who are so scared of the universe that they can't make room in their world for other beings.
Jun. 30th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
Lovely, uplifting story in the end, but I'll happily join you in any just rending of the parties responsible for wrecking that nest.
Jun. 30th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Youse guys, you ROCK.

I get so damn much enjoyment out of the birds that abound in my area -- I just can't imagine deciding that one is a pest, or that its nest is 'ugly', or that it doesn't deserve the chance to raise its young in peace. Some people's children ...
Jun. 30th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
Hurray for rescuing the baby birds!

A long while ago, early one spring, I had bought a lovely basket of pansies to hang on my porch. A couple of weeks later, I had noticed a sparrow would fly out of the basket whenever I opened the front door, but I didn't put two and two together. The pansies, meanwhile, were inexplicably wilted in the middle. I still didn't put two and two together. Finally, I climbed up on a stepladder to take the basket down. I unhooked it, lowered it, and was confronted by a tiny nest and three tinier birds cheeping at me and opening their mouths to be fed.

I put the basket back, and apologized to mama every time I opened the front door.

Yes, I had to have a basket of dead vegetation hanging on my porch, but I got a lot of enjoyment watching mama and babies in action. Once it was clear that they had flown the nest, that's when I finally threw the basket away.
Jun. 30th, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
I grew up on a farm out in ‘the hinterlands’ of rural California. I learned that animals can be friends, and that animals can be food but that animals should *NEVER* be treated with anything less than respect and gentleness. Other kids who grew up similarly didn’t seem to get the same message, and for them animal cruelty was a sort of joke or at least humorous. I will never understand that attitude or where it comes from.
Jun. 30th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
You did an awesome thing rescuing those little babies. If people cared more about the next generation (of people, birds, animals and our planet) the world would have to be a better place. It would have no choice.

Jun. 30th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
Bless you.
Jun. 30th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
Blessings on you and Bob and Friskies, and a hundred thousand curses on the nest destroyers.
Jun. 30th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Yea you! I can't understand deliberatly causing harm to local wildlife. But then we have Boogie, who last week flushed out a family of birds from under 'his' tree. What I didn't know was that the baby bird couldn't make it over the fence. Boogie couldn't reach it (fortunately) and I scooped up Pearl and brought her in. Jim went out and put the baby on the fence, who promptly flew to the nearest tree. Mom and Dad were all atwitter, but I think it ended well.
Jun. 30th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
yay! Baby birds for the win!
Jul. 1st, 2009 01:52 am (UTC)
Go you for rescuing the baby birds.
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
Go, you and Bob! Y'all rock!

I am sending karma sharks after the nasty little jerks who ripped the nest down. I am hoping they get everything they deserve, both good and bad.

It's always so funny; people I wish that on always seem to have terrible things happen to them all at once ... hmmm.... Maybe they should start living right.
( 18 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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