Sunday, August 05, 2007

We do this for life


Are you my mother?

A small ornamental tree held a Mockingbird fledgling and I couldn’t resist a few photos while I delivered some paperwork on campus.

Isn’t she lovely?

I can’t differentiate between male and female Mockingbirds, so I’m calling it a she.

Isn't she wonderful?
She was spreading her wings and practicing feisty Mockingbird behavior. Mom was looking on, so I went back inside. I’ve had enough experiences with Mockingbirds to know it’s right for me to back off.


An hour later, I took my camera with me to run another errand on campus. This time, I saw something strange and decided to tip-toe through fire ant mounds to investigate. Mother was frantic while she carried food to an unusual place. This was odd…


She was perched on the rail of an enclosure in the middle of the courtyard. I knew a baby was in there and I was willing to help.

My heart sank. I cursed. Inside the enclosure was a storm drain covered with a large, heavy grate. There, three feet below, was the young Mockingbird perched on a white drain pipe, above stagnated water, looking up and calling out. She had flown into the enclosure and fell through the grate with no way out. Here, I had a photo opportunity but passed on it. How could I have exploited a small bird that…might…die in there? No. I had to get back to the office.

I would have used all of my strength to lift that grate and lower myself into the pit if no one else would help. But I wanted help. I sent an e-mail to three people and while I waited for replies, I watered the lobby plants with tears in my eyes, wondering why I always find myself rescuing birds and worrying like this? And why am I so damned teary about it?! Bluebirds, Mockingbirds, anything. Maybe I’d be better off living my life with blinders on. But then, I’d miss soooo much love and life – and this is why.

Within a few minutes, Doug came looking for me. I knew it wasn’t a good day for him and he was knee-deep in work issues but he found me. He’s my retired cop buddy and closest friend at the college. Doug doesn’t look sweet and soft-hearted but he is! I didn’t get a photo of him but he looks exactly like a BOB:


I took him to the scene and while we were figuring what to do, the housekeeping ladies, who were finishing an outdoor lunch, came to inquire. They didn’t understand how I knew a young bird was trapped, nor did they know a Mockingbird from a hawk, but they were concerned and happy to fetch a broom, dustpan, and shovel. Yvonne ran to us with a grabber thingy that you’d use for picking up lawn trash. It was the perfect tool.

Sweet “Doug E. Fresh” lifted the grate and gently and carefully raised the little Mockingbird to safety - unharmed. She fought a good fight but he won. With Mockingbird Mom looking on, I chased the baby away from the area and let her rest under a shady tree.

They asked me to take their picture:


Their hearts were full. One lady commented, “I can’t wait to tell my son what I did today!”

We had a five-minute party.

We celebrated!

Their radio was playing Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” and I said, “Crank that baby up!” We danced cha-cha and slow jam with arms in the air. We were smoooooth.

Then we got too hot and all agreed to get back inside and do some work.

Life was good. We saved one.


Since Wednesday, I've had two hours of internet time. I don't know how long it will last. I'm keeping fingers crossed to be in touch with everyone :o) My withdrawal will be a subject of another post.


The Quacks of Life said...

nice photos.

don't you just hate internet providers?

JeanMac said...

Warms the heart to read of people like you folks - thanks from "me" for the rescue!

Annie in Austin said...

The kind of post that you can make with only two hours of internet is extraordinary, Mary, as were the photos. But the way you all worked together was even more so. What a great team!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Ruth said...

What a nice rescue story, happy ending and all. People are so obliging most of the time and obviously the ones in this story have big hearts.(Yours is the biggest!)

LostRoses said...

See, this is why I don't understand why you think your posts are dull and uninspiring. You rock, Mary!

kate smudges said...

That was truly heart-warming, Mary. The bird was lucky you happened on by - I loved your 'Bob' photo. What a cool group of women who celebrated with you.

I hope your internet gets back to normal soon. Or ... perhaps a new provider is in the cards?

Susie said...

How wonderful that so many of you joined in to rescue that baby bird! I found this so touching!
Hope your internet is up and running soon..

Carol Michel said...

What a wonderful rescue! It is heart warming to know that people do care, and do want to help not only the bird, but each other.

Wonderful use of your Internet time!

Anonymous said...

Well, I for one truly enjoyed this story of rescue. I have rescued baby birds from several situations, and I applaud you and all your "rescue team" for a job well done. Three cheers. . . hip, hip, hurrah! Hip, hip, hurray! Hip, hip, hoorrraahhhh!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
This is one of the many reasons I love you!!!
You care, you really care. You inspire others to care too.
Your helpers are so cool.
Life is good because you care.
Life is good for me because you are here.
Hugs, bird songs and gentle rains,

Dorothy said...

Dear Mary I am praying for you and your internet service to come back
soon. This heartwarming story just speaks volumes about what a good soul you are! Thanks too to "Bob" and the kindhearted crew. Kudos to all of you!!!!

KGMom said...

my sister commented on my baby robin story, in which I had a link to Julie's hummingbird story. And I sent her a link for Julie's baby bluebird story. Guess what--I am sending her another link--Mary's mockingbird story.
These baby birds--where would they be without their feathered AND human mothers?

Larry said...

What a nice story! Those baby Mockingbirds look innocent but when they become adults,stay away from their nest.-They dive bomb me all the time in my yard during nesting season.

NatureWoman said...

OMG Mary, you and your college friends rock, baby you all r-e-a-l-l-y rock!! Saving a little baby bewd definitely would fill anyone's heart. Life is Good for sure.
And I miss you big time!!!!!!!!! Think *new* ISP!

RuthieJ said...

Hey Mary, that's such a great story. I'm glad you were able to save that baby bird and you had such willing assistants. In addition to saving a life, hopefully some of your assistants will acquire a new appreciation of nature and remember what every individual can do to preserve it.

Cathy said...


LauraHinNJ said...

GO Mary! GO Justa BOB! GO housekeeping ladies!

Thanks for the smiles tonight!

Susan Gets Native said...

I know how you feel, thinking that maybe life would be simpler if you were ignorant of the nature dramas going on outside. I have felt that way many times. But doing great things outweighs simple existence.
Mary, you ROCK.

Alyssa said...

That was a really nice post. I was worried you wouln't be able to save the poor baby. I'm glad it ended happily. Isn't it nice to have empathy for all our fellow creatures on this earth. I think you are a very, very good person.
And I'm sure some of your empathy and caring rubbed off on your helpers - they may save a helpless creature in the furture because of you.

dmmgmfm said...

Oh honey, you are just the best. You really are. You remind me of my son in so many ways. He is always saving something or someone, just like you.

You, my lady, rock!

Anonymous said...

A great story Mary, and you got the perfect photos to go with it. What a nice bunch of people at your office. I am surprised the mama mocker didn't go after you, but this once seemed to know you were helping.

Mary said...

What a story! So glad you were able to save the baby bird

Laura Stamps said...

Wonderful story! And reminds me of something simliar that happened to me when my husband and I were leaving a restaurant at a hotel in June (we live in, hot, hot!!). We heard this terrible scream when we approached our car. I know the sound of a baby bird because finches build nests on our porches sometimes. I found him in the middle of the parking lot on sizzling pavement. His baby mockingbird feet were burning. So my husband rushed to the car and got a box out, and I coaxed him in. Then I took him to a grassy area, and he popped out under a bush. We watched for a while to make sure he would stay there and then walked away.

Again the screaming. When I turned around he was on the hot pavement again. The problem was he was just about to fly and was doing that hop, flutter, land thing. I put him back in the grass, and he stayed there this time, hopping and fluttering. You could tell he would get the hang of flying in the next hour or so, and be okay.

Glad to know I'm not the only one saving baby mockingbirds this summer!! Much love to you. :)

Anonymous said...

Mary, This is why I miss you so much at DOE! You have such a kind heart and always know how to make everyone smile. Wish I could've been there with you doing the cha cha! Miss you girl!

Unknown said...

Mary, you totally rock! I'm so amazed at what you find and do and how you get other people to care too. You are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Since we had written each other while this was happening I knew some of the story but your pictures really tell it all. Congrats for having such good friends on campus and for having the soft and giving heart that makes you you!

Anonymous said...

wonderful wonderful post, Mary. And I love the images. What a great story.

cat59 said...

Oh, Mary; what a wonderful outcome. Those birds are lucky to have you! You are so observant; it's amazing.

possumlady said...

Mary, what a great ending!! From one bird rescuer to another, doesn't it feel wonderful. Isn't there a saying that if you save someone's life you are then responsible for their life? I still feel that way with my blue jay "babies", although they are hardly babies anymore. They still come by for cat kibble every day.

Julie Zickefoose said...

These little dramas are happening everywhere, all the time, for those who walk with eyes and heart open. You've figured out that birds do nothing without good reason. The parent mockingbird was perched, holding food, and you knew enough to put two and two together and know that meant there was a baby beneath her. That's the hallmark of a good naturalist--assigning significance to everything, realizing that everything, no matter how small, means something. Here's to you! and your beautiful pictures and great co-workers.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I'm glad, too, that you had to summon help for the rescue. It would've been easier, maybe, to be able to take care of it yourself, but so much cooler to have others be able to gain the shared satisfaction. I'm sure they've gone home and bragged to their SOs--a word that needs to get around.

Chrissie said...

I do love happy endings :-) This is a really lovely story, Mary. One kind gesture deserves another and I'm sure you will be repaid :-)

Mary said...

Hi All,

I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I sure did. Four days have gone by and the housekeeping ladies are still talking about it :o)

dguzman said...

Oh Mary:
"How wonderful life is,
while you're in the world."
--Elton and Bernie