Three Baby Blackbirds
By Gee Temp
One of my sons is a plumber and, in replacing some roofing, found a nest with three live new-born chicks in it. The other workers said "Kill 'em, they're only rotten blackbirds!" but my son 'smuggled' them home to me to see what could be done, knowing that the true parents wouldn't be able to tend to them again, even if they could find them in a different location.
We fed them on bread and grass seeds until they could handle dog food as well (since we had two dogs at the time) all sprinkled with a little soil for roughage. Unbelievably, they survived and thrived and, of course, when their little eyes opened, who did they see as their "parents" who had cared for them in their blindness?
It was hard work feeding them every 30 minutes throughout the day for about 3 weeks but an experience never to be forgotten, and a joy that may never be repeated.
When they were old enough, I had to teach them what foods to eat and how to shift stones and dig to look for it. Later, I spent hours teaching them all to jump from hand to hand until that great day that they leaped and flew for the first time. They were extremely excited, and so was I!
They would awaken us at dawn each day to let us know they were safe and sound before rummaging in the grasses near the house. They never left our sides for about two months or so, until some instinct told them it was time to move on.
One glorious summer day, the three of them were flying circles over our heads, climbing higher each time, for about 10 minutes, and because that was so unusual, I suddenly sensed their longing to 'be free' of 'the nest.' I whistled them in the manner they understood and two of them returned overhead - the other flew off, past the trees, in a southerly direction. I frantically whistled and called again and one landed on my lap and the other one only a foot away.
Then they both climbed over our heads and shoulders, cheeping and chirping as if saying, "Mama, Papa, we love you but we must go away now!" After about 5 minutes of this, one flew off, rose high, did a couple of circles and flew off in the very same direction as its sister.
One of our 'children' remained for another five minutes, picking at my hair and ear, cheeping noisily and, in the most beautiful manner, did a little dance on my lap before flying up and away, in the same direction as the others. I cried then as I'm crying now, in typing this. No one enjoys seeing the last of their loved ones, regardless of how 'different' they may appear to be or how 'strange' their behaviour seems. I guess I'd be a Great Grandad by now!