Reason #8,512,294 I never get anything productive done:
Jonas: Can you come outside? I want to show you something.
Me: Um, I’m right in the middle of something. What is it you want to show me?
Jonas: Well… when I was just riding my bike over to Joshua and Eli’s to see if they could come play, I found a baby bird and I brought it back to our house.
Me: What?! No you didn’t. Are you serious?
Jonas: Yes. It was alone! I rescued it!
Me: Did you touch it? The mom won’t take it back if you touched it.
Jonas: I didn’t touch it! I put it in the cup holder on my bike. And there wasn’t a mom. It was in a box.
Me: Oh for chrissakes. Where is it?
*He takes me out to the garage.*
Jonas: I’m going to put him in a little box and feed him.
Me: Jo, you don’t even know what he eats.
Jonas: I do! All birds eat worms. I know LOTS about birds. Way more than you do.
Me: I’m not saying you don’t. I’m just saying I don’t think you know enough to keep him alive. Or happy. Would you be happy in a tiny little box where you couldn’t move?
Jonas: I’m going to put him in a bigger box. And I can definitely keep him alive. I’ll give him water and food every day. I’ll catch a worm every day for him.
Me: What about when he gets big and needs to learn to fly? You can’t teach him to fly.
Jonas: I could! I could definitely teach him how to fly. I’m sure of it.
Me: Oh good lord. I seriously don’t even know what to do. You need to show me exactly where you found it.
Jonas: OK, but it’s kind of far. And through one of the other gated neighborhoods, so you can’t drive.
*After a 20 minute walk through several neighborhoods and a wash behind some houses.*
Jonas: See that box right there? He was in that box.
Me: So you were riding your bike and you saw the box 20 feet off the path in the wash and you got off your bike to go look inside it?
Jonas: I like boxes.
Me: Right. So then how did you get it from the box into your cup holder if you didn’t touch it?
Jonas: I picked up the box and carried it over to my bike and tipped it into the cup holder.
Me: Got it. I don’t see a nest anywhere nearby…
Jonas: Look, Mom!! *Points to the carcass of an identical baby bird covered in ants about 5 feet further down the wash.*
Me: Get away from that! Don’t touch it!! Come over here right now! I’m calling your father!
Jonas: See! I rescued him! That’s what would have happened to him!
Me (on the phone to Jason): So your youngest, my favorite-
Jason: Uh oh…
Me: Brought home a live baby bird (I explain the story in detail). I don’t see a nest anywhere. And I think it’s not ok. It’s moving its wing and chirping, but not its legs. I seriously don’t know what to do with it.
Jason: Take it home and put it in the big green container in the backyard that we had the lizard in Jonas caught a couple of days ago. Give it some water in that little dish I had in there. I’ll take a look at it when I get home and do something about it.
Me: Oh for the love… fine. I have neither the time nor the emotional energy to feel responsible for the entirety of the health, safety, hopes and dreams of yet another creature in our home! Do you have any idea what kind of a burden it is to wake up in the middle of the night worrying about the general happiness and emotional security of everyone who lives under our roof? Even the ones who can’t communicate their own happiness to me?
Me: IT’S EXHAUSTING. This is why I drink.
Jason: I thought real estate was why you drink. And the boys fighting. And spiders in the washing machine.
Me: All those things too. It’s why I have to drink so much. I blame you for this, you know. I never brought home creatures for my parents to deal with when I was a kid.
Jason: I know.
*Updated to add the rest of the story*
So it turns out the little guy is a baby quail. After I posted this blog, my sweet friend, Shar, pointed me to a website run by local people who help sick and injured wildlife. I followed their instructions to email a picture of the bird to them and in less than 10 minutes someone had replied with the name and phone number of a woman in Apache Junction who takes in and rehabilitates sick and injured birds (or baby birds without their mothers).
I called Barb, The Wildlife Rehabilitator, specializing in quail, dove and bunnies (so it sez on her biz card) and she gave me her address and told me to bring the bird right over to her. Of course, at this point the kids had to be at the skateboarding school I signed them up for classes at this summer in 20 minutes, so there wasn’t time to take the bird to her before dropping them off. Additionally, I had planned to go to circus school after the skateboarding classes (Jason was meeting me there to receive the kids). I intended to throw something on over top of my circusy workout outfit to make it slightly less weird, but because of all of the bird clusterfuckery, I didn’t have time to figure anything reasonable out and ended up running out the door just in that. I also didn’t have much time to find something appropriately sized to transport the bird in the car, so I grabbed the first thing I saw that would work.
This is how I came to meet the other moms of the kids in Jonas’s new skateboarding class while wearing a black fitted tank top and these tights:
And carrying a plastic novelty movie popcorn bucket with a tiny injured baby quail inside. Oh and with blue hair, of course.
Luckily, it’s skateboarding class, so dude, these moms don’t judge. (I <3 skateboarding class.)
After securing the kids in their classes, I hopped back into the car (realizing I was super low on gas) and headed 17 miles East into the wilds of Apache Junction to find the wacky lady who takes in tiny injured birds. When I got to her house, she immediately picked him up (it also turns out the whole ‘don’t touch a baby bird because then its mom won’t take it back’ or because it’s definitely covered in germs that will immediately kill you, is all super old-wives-taley) and said something is definitely wrong with his legs and she doesn’t know if he’ll make it, but she’ll work with him and do her best.
Then she thanked me and told me to tell Jonas he’d done the right thing (who knew that was possible) and asked me if I could possibly deliver another bird to one of her rescuer friends on my way back West.
How do you say no to a woman who takes in injured baby birds as a hobby?
Which is how I ended up speeding down the 60 toward a church parking lot to meet a woman I’d never met, freaking out I was going to either be late to pick up the kids or run completely out of gas (or both) with this guy in my car:
Luckily, I found ‘Gennie’ (the other nutty bird lady), handed off this fellow and made it back to the skateboard gym without running out of gas exactly as the kids were being released from their classes.
I haven’t heard anything from Barb yet today as to whether our quail made it through the night, but I’m going to check in with her later and will definitely keep you updated. I feel better that at least we did everything we could.
(We also rescued a prairie dog from the neighborhood pool on Tuesday this week:
So if this is the universe’s way of testing us to see if we’re terrible people, I would just like to know if we’ve passed or if we should expect a family of homeless coyote to show up at our doorstep seeking shelter next.)