Monday, November 9, 2009
Gratitude Post # 9 ~ Raising Peeper
This is a re-post from a year ago. I love this story so much that I wanted to share it again with you. I hope you enjoy it. I am thankful for the birds that fly
A couple of years back, we had the most unusual experience one summer. It all started with one of our cats, Bruno. He is endearing to us because of all the joy he brings to our lives. One morning I heard this muffled sound that went something like this"mau, mau, mau." Not the unusual sound of my cat. Just put you index finger across you mouth and try to meow, then you will know the sound that I am referring to.
Bruno prides himself in his hunting abilities, especially bringing home the food, so to speak. I heard this muffled "mau "sound and then I knew what it was. He had something in his mouth. Much to my surprise, it was a baby bird. Normally, in Texas, I hate Mockingbirds, even if it is the state bird, because they attack my cats unmercifully, and never forget any cat that has killed a baby bird. Never forgets and for years this one mocking bird tormented an old stripped tabby cat of mine because she killed a baby bird. Mocking birds dive bomb a cat or person repeatedly without mercy. I mean they never forget from year to year. So I have one cat that is in trouble from a previous baby bird killing, and now Bruno has brought me a baby mocking bird?
This little baby bird was so tiny that I could not even see it in my cat's mouth. It looked dead, but I held it in my hand and gently rubbed its breast. Soon, it was out of shock from the jaws of death. Birds seem to go into shock and look dead; I have revived many a little bird. OK, we are now the proud parents of a baby mockingbird. We get the dropper out and have to feed this little guy every hour on the hour. His parents were frantic looking for him. I put all the bird eating killer cats up inside the house and fix the back porch with a partition so the baby's parents can get to it. They go in and out of the back screened porch and feed their little bundle of joy for about a week. Then one day the baby bird just flew out with his parents.
On that very same day, Bruno the killer cat, goes and brings us another baby bird from somewhere in the front yard. We can not find it's parents, so we get out the dropper again and start the mockingbird ICU for wayward baby birds. This one is much smaller and his parents don't come to the back yard looking for him. Every hour on the hour, twenty-four seven ,we feed this little bird. We researched baby bird food and found a recipe that would keep him well fed, so we thought.
He lived in a shoe box with shredded newspaper. We put him to bed at night and covered him up with the paper. He is growing up so fast. One morning, we opened the back door only to have this little bird come screeching at us with his mouth wide open, thus the name Peeper. His big mouth was all bright yellow. Too cute! Little Peeper soon out grew his formula and we are out looking in the yard for worms. No small ones, so we had to cut them up and feed Peeper with tweezers. Ahh, he is finally full. Nope that lasted for about a week, his taste changed,then we had to find brown crickets from our yard. OK, for a few days, and this little bird is screaming and almost attacking my feet because he is so hungry. I know that feeling too well! Next thing we try are purchased crickets because the little bird has a discerning palate. Hmmm, does Peeper think we are a five star hotel. Has the word gotten out that we have a nice bird set up? This little bird was so hungry and at five bucks a day, well, that went on for about a week. He is so sociable and will sit on your finger. He follows me everywhere. My little Peeper. Folks let me tell you that raising this little bird was a lot of hard work, but so very worth the effort.
Gradually, I started letting him venture outside the screened porch to the pergola, where I had vining morning glories, evening moon flower and bougainvillea. Little by little he would climb and start to fly more each day. I would take him on outings to the far back yard to test his ability in flying and adapting to other birds. We were scared of course and the little thing would fly back to me and we would go back to his safety of the porch.
We fell in love with this little guy, Peeper. He was so adorable and entertaining. He would sit on our shoulders, play in your hair and walk up and down your arm. I knew the day was coming when I would have to set him free. It took about a week before he finally stayed out by himself. We felt like successful parents seeing our little bird leaving his home. The neatest thing happened with this little bird. We could be standing out in the yard and call him and out of the blue, he would land on our shoulder. Just amazing! It is so thrilling to raise a wild bird and then have it come back to you. He stayed around that summer until it was time to go away, but the next summer he came back to us. Peeper would come up to the pergola and sit by the table or chirp for us. He never did land on our shoulder again, but he did remember us. Just amazing to experience.
That very day he left us, Bruno went and found us another bird. I think Bruno thinks we need a little more to do! So we spent that one incredible summer raising baby mockingbirds. I just wish I had taken pictures of these little birds. Peeper was our favorite because he stayed the longest. I will never look at a mockingbird the same way as I use to because they are such lovely birds and magnificent singers. Now during the spring and summer, I keep my cats inside so they don't bring me any more birds.