Mine takes some storytelling and understanding. Mind if I start with that? So better go grab a cuppa, because this is a tale . . .
(Please bear with me, a photographer, I am not.)
In early June, 2008, I was on my way to pick up my son from school when a terrible storm overtook our area. In a few short minutes, the skies darkened and water poured down. The winds tore through the trees, causing me to take stock of each one as I waited in the stopped traffic on the rural road . . . if it fell, would it reach me?
Eventually, I made it to the school and the worst had passed enough for them to release the students. We wound our way back home slowly, carefully . . . most of the roads had been blocked by fallen trees, the very roads I had just traveled to school.
We had been lucky. No trees on our property were damaged, but most of our neighbors weren't so fortunate. Trees were down everywhere. Once everyone had returned home, everyone pitched in to help where help was needed.
As they finished helping our neighbor clear a fallen tree, my husband and son found a tiny baby bird in the grass. No nest to be found. No parents came for him. Such a little, cold, wet heap, no one in the neighborhood thought he could be saved. So they brought him home. We made a clean, dry, warm nest for him and put him to bed on a heating pad; at least he would be dry and warm. I steeled myself to find a dead little baby bird in that nest that next morning. I made sure to get up before the kids and head them off, saving them such a sad sight.
This is what greeted me the next morning:
June 5, 2008
Such a precious little thing!
We had no idea what kind of bird he was, quite the odd face he had, along with a soft beak. And try as we might, we could not get him to eat. He was quite the going concern that morning as I knew time was passing without him having eaten. Then it dawned on my husband, he was a mourning dove. Yes! That explained his face, his soft beak, and his refusal to open his mouth for food. Doves are not gapers, they are force-fed.
So I fed him water-soaked cat food, prying his beak open and pushing food into his throat. It worked. I could just see it nourishing and strengthening him. Those first few days, he needed to be fed every 2 hours.
He stabilized and then strengthened and grew.
June 6, 2008
June 9, 2008
Eventually, he could stand.
By this point, we talked about him a lot, and thought he deserved a name.
We named him, "Lester."
June 11, 2008
And soon, he would pick up some seed.
June 14, 2008
And then he began to be a real mourning dove.
June 20, 2008
And soon, it was time to let him go . . . and he went.
And I knew I'd miss him.
June 30, 2008
He hung around the yard for a while, and I was thrilled.
July 2, 2008
And then he disappeared.
And I was heartbroken.
It was about a week later,
when I peered out the kitchen window and saw this . . .
July 10, 2008
My little Lester had come backl!
I was overjoyed to see him.
He hung around the yard all day and night,
Snoozing on my laundry line,
peeking in my kitchen window,
resting on the deck railing.
And one day, another storm began brewing.
As the wind swirled . . .
And the skies darkened . . .
And all creatures headed for the shelter of home . . .
Lester followed us right in the door and stood in the middle of the dining room.
And she's never left.
Thanks again to Penny.
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