The Fledgling

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Yesterday, our usually quiet, docile fields were alive with noisy chaos. Teams of people were working to cut down trees and clear a pasture for rescued horses who need a home, a home that her baby sister is determined to provide. But amidst the chainsaws and sawzalls buzzing and branches and voices rustling, she heard the faint cry of a different baby. Maybe one of the recently downed trees had held his home.

She followed his petite song and found the sweet little fledgling hiding under ferns on the forest floor.

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She gently cupped her hand around his meager frame and searched for me, knowing I would be her enthusiastic comrade, eager to do whatever we could for the tiny crooner in her palm. She held him gently while we researched how we could help.

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We learned we would only be doing him harm if we attempted to care for him, and (we were surprised to discover) it’s illegal to care for a wild animal. We also read that, contrary to what we had thought, our scents would not deter his parents from still caring for him, and if we could return him directly to his own nest, that would be best. Since whatever tree must have housed his home was now being cut into firewood, we decided the best solution was to make him a new home and pray his momma would find him there. So we researched the best human-attempt at a makeshift nest. We found a container with drainage holes in the bottom and lined it with soft material: yarn and tissues.

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Then we placed him securely in a tree near where she found him. We watched for a while, then walked away hoping our diminutive efforts would be enough. I was thankful. Thankful for her sweet caring instincts when confronted with the disadvantaged. Thankful for a chance to, once again, study nature with my daughter–the same little one who would proudly fill up pages in our family’s Backyard Book (especially ones about birds) and traipse with me through the woods with her journal and pencil in hand on our Nature Journaling days. Thankful for my now-grown daughter’s decision to trust me with her concern; ask me to again learn with her, side-by-side; and allow me to work with her to devise a solution. Together.

This morning, our make-shift nest was empty.

Hopefully his song reached his momma’s ears… Hopefully he asked for her help… And hopefully he’s soaring high on his own strong wings today.

“Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost.” Proverbs 22:6 (The Message)

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