A Mother to All Birds
Slowly Squawk started to hang out with the other Blue Jays and other than when
he would occasionally fly down to the sundeck and land on the railing or even
land on our arm if we extend it, we were unable to identify which bird was
One day Sam, (a friend of Iggís) drove up to the house while I was standing
next to a hickory tree at the front door. I had my arm extended to the tree as
Sam got out of his car and walked toward me. Further out behind Sam I could see
a bird in a long steep gliding dive coming in fast toward Samís back. I could
see as the bird got closer that it must be Squawk as it was a Blue Jay.
Squawk glided so close to Samís ear that Sam ducked
down as Squawk went past him at a high rate of speed. Squawk made a perfect
landing on my arm and quickly made a 180 degree hop so he was facing Sam and.
The look on Samís face was of disbelief and astonishment as he stopped and
stood up, eyes wide and mouth open.
I played it up by not moving nor even looking over at Squawk sitting on my arm
giving Sam a good look over with each eye one at a time. I finally had to give
in and tell Sam that we raised Squawk from a baby.
This incident netted us another bird to raise later when Sam found a nest blown
out of a tree by a storm with a baby bird on the ground and no mother bird
This bird had pin feathers but we still could not identify what kind of bird it
was so Rose took care of it like she did the others. This one turned out to be a
Robin. The Robin was just like the Blue Jay in itís caricature. It was
friendly to almost everyone and it too tried to copy everything Rose did. Once
raised in the house it too was a job to get it to stay outside. Rose would work
on potted plants while out on the sun deck and Robin would dig in the pots along
with Rose so watching it looked as though Robin was helping. Iím sure Robin
was digging for worms and bugs and thought Rose was doing the same. I only have
one slightly out of focus picture of Robin while Rose was giving him some tid
bits after Robin had been living outside for some time.
One incident when I wish I had a camera handy was one day Rose whispered for me
to come to the dining room window. I slowly came up to the window and It didnít
register at first what I was looking at. It was Robin laying on his back up
against the frame of the window with his feet up and a small white stick in his
I was puzzled and asked Rose what that was all about? She had a hard time
laughing and trying to tell me. Rose would often take Robin out on the sundeck
and read and occasionally smoke a cigarette as she did with Squawk and because
Robin many times tried to copy what Rose did she was sure Robin was reclined and
smoking his cigarette too. I guess he couldnít find a small book to read.
Over the years people would bring baby and injured birds for Rose to care for.
One time a friend of a friend brought two baby birds to care for. These two were
very small and only had some pin feathers so we could not ID them until they
feathered out. Rose cared for them just like all the others and we soon
recognized them at sparrows. We didnít know weather it was because they had
each other to connect to or what, but they were completely wild to a point that
Rose even had a hard time cleaning their cage as they went bezerk when she tried
to put her hand in the cage.
Rose hand held and fed them up until they were fully feathered just as the Jay
and the Robin. When they were fully feathered we took the cage out on the
sundeck and opened it up and they both flew like bullets straight away and we
never seen them again. It was ok because we knew they would not have survived on
the ground where they were found.
Over several years Rose raised several more Blue Jays and another Robin. We were
not always successful either because the baby had internal injuries that we
didnít know about or something was wrong with the baby to start with and the
mother bird may have pushed it out of the nest as they will do. One we lost that
we so much wanted to save was a full grown humming bird with a broken leg. We
tried to wrap tape around itís leg but couldnít keep it disabled and the
bird would struggle and brake the tape loose. We were able to keep it alive for
only a couple of weeks. We also lost two swallows for an unknown reason.
We were able to raise over 50% of the babies brought to us and return them to
the wild. We found it hard to get any info on raising baby wild birds as we had
no Internet back then.