The Rose & the Birds

Chapter One  

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Howard M. Fitzcharles III

  This probably started long before the first event. When I say “started” I mean small thoughts and minor events in my life and in the life of Rose. I can think of several incidents in my life that may have influenced me, but I can’t now quiz Rose about long gone minor events that influenced her to the point of having a love of birds because Rose is gone like most of the birds she raised and cared for.   She did leave a legacy though. Two fine children and two fine grandchildren and a lot of great memories for me. I am sure there are many offspring of her birds, probably still in this area. Birds that would surely not have been if it were not for “The Rose”.

  The first event was an accident that occurred behind our house in “Green Acres”. No joke, that was the name of the subdivision we lived in. It was a new subdivision in Smyrna, TN in 1975. We had just moved here from Jacksonville. FL .

Igg (nickname of my son), was playing in the back yard with some neighbors kids and they came upon a large bug that was running through the grass.      

  They said it was the size of a large roach and could run quit fast. One of the neighbor boys tried to stomp on it but only nicked it. Igg looked close at it now, and yelled at the others to stop. They seen that it was a baby bird not a bug. They had never seen a tinny baby bird that could run and certainly not that fast. Now they concentrated on catching it rather than stomping on it. They soon captured it and Igg cupped it in his hands, and to his surprise it quickly stopped struggling and settled down in his hands. He brought it in to Rose.              

  Rose was raised on a farm in northern FL and recognized it as a baby Quail. She examined the bird for injuries and noted it had a skinned spot on one leg but it didn’t seem to be broken, so she just wrapped the baby up in a cloth and put it in a small cardboard box and set the box on the hot water heater to keep it warm.

  We gathered up the several children who were playing with Igg and Sher  (our daughter) and we spread out to search the field behind the house to try to find the mother and the rest of the Quail family. We searched the field several times but could not find a sign of the Quail family.


     Rose sighed and said she would try to keep the bird alive herself, but felt that it may be hard to do as she was not sure what a baby Quail ate. Rose would experiment with small pieces of food on the end of a toothpick and to her surprise the little bird seemed to know what it liked and didn’t like to eat. One of its favorites was a small piece of bread dipped in pancake syrup. Small tender bugs on a toothpick were tasty too. The little bird turned down some bugs but gobbled up others. This gave Rose an extra daily chore of going into the field behind the house and trying to catch grass hoppers and other small bugs. I still chuckle to think what neighbors thought seeing Rose in the tall grass sometimes down on her knees trying to catch bugs almost every day.

  The first sign of much more intelligence then I was lead to believe a bird had, other than parrots and such was when Rose would let the little bird run around on the floor.

Here was a miniature bird fully feathered that was hard pressed to stand two inches tall and could run like the wind and its brain could not be any larger than a BB. But when Rose walked away this tinny critter would run after her no matter where in the house she went. It would not follow me or the kids, only Rose “Its adopted Ma ma”.  Most of the time in the evening it would sit at Rose’s feet when we would watch TV. Rose always picked it up and set it in her lap and the little baby would snuggle down and go to sleep in her lap.

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