Baby Birds Don’t Blink

Last week, my Mom helped me carry my bags from my Independence Day trip up to my front door. She was already at my door and I was just stepping from the top of the stairs on to my patio when I saw an eye staring me down. It startled me. If I was a jumpy person, I would have jumped or gasped or do something women do when they get scared. Instead, I held my breath. Eventually my mom turned back and I pointed while saying, “Didn’t you see the baby bird?”

There was a baby robin sitting in one of my potted plants. It was perched right on the edge of the plant and it just stared at me as I lugged my bag up the stairs. Once I saw it, I froze in place, worried I’d scare it and it would fall. It looked still too young to fly.

What do you do in that situation?

Well, eventually, I asked Google and learned that you can feed them canned cat food and water in an eye dropper. Canned cat food is gross, though. I didn’t have that on hand. And I don’t have any eye droppers hanging around my place just waiting for a baby bird to show up either.

My mom helped me put some bird seed (which I did have on hand, surprise) into a paper cup that she cut down to just the base and I put water into a small dish. We put those two things into the potted plant and the baby robin didn’t move while we did. It just stared at us, opening its mouth a few times and almost making a chirp noise once or twice.

Mom went home and I went inside to unpack a few of my bags.

I went back out after midnight to check on the bird.

Still there. So I put my hand out. It’s a myth, you know, that birds will abandon their babies if they smell of humans. I know that robins have a poor sense of smell. So I carefully put my hand around the baby robin to check and see if it was warm.

And then I went to bed.

In the morning, the baby was gone. There was some bird poop left behind and the bird seed and water looked to be the same amounts. I hope that bird flew away.

What do you think? If you’d seen that bird on your front porch would you have felt sad for it? Would you have wanted to take care of it? Would you have gone to the Wal-Mart at midnight to buy stinky, wet cat food and an eye dropper?

I thought briefly of the time we found a bunch of baby quails in a window well when I was in elementary school. Sabrina and I held ours cupped in our little hands, clutched to our chests, while we hid in the old garage in my neighbor’s yard. We didn’t want our babies to go to the aviary with all of the other ones. Eventually, though, they found us. I just wanted my own baby bird. I’d definitely give it up once it became an adult. Who wants a full grown quail hanging around?


    1. saw the baby bird the other day, hanging out in the bush below my patio, learning how to fly with the parent robins watching out for him… good thing


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