Feathered Friends

Psalms 84:3     Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself,
                       where she may lay her young

It won’t surprise you that this is one of my favorite Psalms and if you look up the rest of it you’ll see it’s about finding a place for yourself. But did you ever find yourself someplace and think, "what on earth am I doing here?"  This happened to me the other day.

But first this happened: While we were in Oregon, Chris and Juanita were watching the house, gardens, ancient guinea pig, cats and aviary and Chris called to say he had some sad news but he didn’t sound too grave so I figured it wasn’t terrible news. It wasn’t- it was just sad news. I have a large flight aviary with a delightful even dozen finches. Six of them are all one big happy Zebra finch family. Zebra finches are prolific breeders and I have to keep an eye on them, especially Mine-Mine and Cloud because they go wonka wonka every time you turn your back on them. The only way to stop this baby mill is to take away anything resembling a nest and even then Cloud will sometimes lay eggs in the food dish.

About 3 months ago they hatched a lone egg and after the two week nesting period a little fledgling came out that we named Monk. This was because he was stone cold bald on the top of his head. He was a runt to boot and I didn’t have high hopes for him. But he hung in and begged pitifully for food at every turn and because Mine-Mine and Cloud are good parents they stuffed him up and he grew. After about ten days he had little pin feathers sticking up on top of his head and after another week he began to try and sing just like Mine-Mine. This was very comical: a little wobbly bald bird with pin feathers sticking out his little head up and chirping away in the most discombobulated fashion. About six weeks later 3 new eggs hatched and these were all robust, fully feathered finches and within a month they were all bigger than Monk. But every day, Monk has been the happy guy who sits on the branch and sings to everyone- me, the other finches and even the Carolina Wrens outside when I leave the sliding door open. Well, Monk died. Chris didn’t know why and he didn’t suffer much; he was singing one day and just gone from that tiny body the next.

I was sad after that call but also circumspect: Monk had never stopped being the runt and I sort of felt as though all that singing deserved a better body and I’m hoping he gets another go at it. I’m pretty sure such a simple and pure spirit will.

Back in Oregon, FG and I left the hotel and headed up the 101 Coast Highway. As I’ve already posted we had a glorious and fun-filled day. But at some point, shortly after lunch (one of 4 crab roll stops) I found myself in a situation where I was thinking, "What the heck? Where are we and why are we here???" Just north of Yachats we saw a little road that had a For Sale by Owner sign at the corner so we turned down, just to drive by and see if there might be a flyer to give us a rough idea of housing prices. It ended up the lots mostly had big RVs on them and looked like weekend retreats but we found the one small house with the For Sale sign and as we slowed down both the Mister and Missus popped up from behind the hedge grinning from ear to ear, spouting all the wonderful attributes of this place of theirs.

And then, to be polite I guess, we ended up taking the tour. Knowing full well we were NOT in the market for a place like this at this moment in time. Nevertheless, we toured the giant RV barn (bigger than the house), the truck with camper garage, the dachshund breeding kennels, the back yard with creek. We admired the giant butterfly bushes and the rhododendrons. We heard all about their trips to Alaska to crab and to Arizona to RV and their need to buy a more manageable condo. And then, of course, we had to look at the inside of the house because after all…these people were much much nicer but sort of glombed onto us the way that couple in Florida did. Hell, they wanted us to stay for dinner. Go fishing. Sit and crochet. I kept thinking, "How did this happen? Why are we here?" and, more to the point, "How do we get out of here?"

We were actively looking for a graceful way out, especially since the eau de Dachshund was completely overpowering and their little dog, Sadie, was alternately humping my foot and growling like a rabid coon. The missus said, "I wish she wouldn’t do that. She just recently started doing that and it alarms people."  Which, the humping or the rabid growling? Anyway, we were almost out the door when the mister says, "Say! You haven’t seen the laundry room yet!"  Oh well, that’s okay, but…fine, let’s have a look at that laundry room.

As we walked in the door I said, "There’s a bird in here." Baby_warblerFG and the mister and missus looked at me like I was nuts. "No, listen. There’s a bird in here." Everyone listened and agreed they didn’t hear anything. I insisted, "Listen!" And since we were on such good terms I just started moving stuff around in their laundry room in search of that bird. The mister said, "Nah. You must have heard a bird from outside." I said no and kept moving baskets and buckets. Then the missus started to get a bit alarmed and volunteered that I might have heard a chipmunk that sometimes gets into the breezeway. I said, "There’s a bird in here." After several more minutes of searching FG said, "Oh, now I hear it." And then I moved two more big boxes on the windowsill and there he was. Not at all where he belonged.

"Oh, my!" said the missus. "Well, I’ll be!" said the mister. And that sweet little baby yellow warbler sat perfectly still while I picked him up, admired him closely, showed him around and took him outside. When I set him on top of the woodpile, he took right off up into the cedar by the creek. And then, since my work there was done, we left.

7 responses to “Feathered Friends

  1. What a great story! Yes, Birdwoman, that is exactly why you were there!

  2. So sorry to hear about poor little Monk (after Thelonious?). You have found your calling, Vicki–comforting and helping every creature who is blessed to cross your path!

    But, may an old barred owl ask, “Whooo, whooo, who comforts yooou all?”

  3. What a fortunate bird to have you there at just the time he needed you. Is it possible that the birds of the US have your number on their 911 dial?

  4. The Bird Lady of the Sea Lion Caves! Gee, you’re a wonder. I live in Oregon and HAVE NEVER SEEN a yellow warbler, and here you find them camping out in the soiled sheets. What a fine ear for music!

  5. I picture your little lost Monk singing with the angels, Vicki, until they figure out how (in what shape) to return him to us.

    And what a good laugh I had imagining you pawing through that grimy old laundry room in Oregon. What you leave out is as funny as what you include and your writing gets better and better! How do you do that?

    Do you have plans for Aug 12, the highlight night of the Perseids? I’m thinking we should find a dark place — Peach Mountain? The Cottage? — and have an all-night BCMA meeting and watch the sky for falling stars.

  6. Susie, you’re so kind! Perseids? Absolutely- BCMA at Wit’s End! I’ll arrange it. Of course, you realize, right after 3 bottles of fine Oregon wine and a giant bonfire of the vanities that the clouds will move in. But we shall be beyond caring…

  7. Oh, Vicki! That post was so, so lovely. Thank you.

    I also loved the image of your birds doing Wonka-wonka whenever you turned your back.

    And sorry about Monk.

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