Babies at Risk on the Hill

June 19th, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Trying not to anthropomorphize the wildlife, I have been struck and stuck twice in a week. Looks like we saved one baby and lost another.

A week ago on her wedding day, my new daughter in law rescued a tiny bunny from the toughest cat in the neighborhood, Chartreuse, who doesn’t even fear the big male coyote who trots down the middle of the street in the daylight. Jessica is a big adopter and protector of critters feral.

Unfortunately, neither the towel to warm and very gentle ministrations could save the mangled lagomorph infant. Its corpse joined (not too close, mind you) that of our cat on the back 40 (feet).

chickpeekWe had better results yesterday.  Cindy saw a fledgling blue jay standing dumbly on the driveway between the car and garage door. Apparently it’s not quite ready for real flight and staged a stand-up strike on the pavement.

I scooped him or her up in several layers of paper towels, to avoid tainting the wee one for the parents. Then I bush pushed into the back of a large rhododendron to place the fledgling back in its nest. The parents were squawking and buzzing, but apparently did not reject the baby.

This one at least commutes from the nest to rhody branches and back. We can see the mini-aviary from the sun room.

ChickScowlAmusingly to me, the pix I snapped this morning in the pretty dreadful low-contrast lighting (without flash so not to startle) reveal a fairly dour looking bird. Here’s where I try to avoid reading too much into the sneer. For God’s sake, blue jays don’t even have lips!

Cindy is much fonder of blue jays than I.  Their calls seem strident and unmelodious to  me.  I don’t mind playing blue-jay rescue though.

This did recall the Blue Jay tavern in Keyser, West Virginia, though. That’ s the hometown of Harvard’s Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. , he of beer summit fame.  He and my mother were born in the local hospital, a generation apart. He, my mother and her father each graduated from Pot (Potomac) State in town. My mother’s parents’ families were across the river in Luke, Maryland and the sticks above it.

When my grandfather took my sister and me through Keyser to visit relatives or the B&O where he worked, we’d often stop at the Blue Jay. His wife strongly disapproved of alcohol and once I was old enough to drink, I realized the brew he got at the Blue Jay really didn’t count as it. He got a 3.2 National Bohemian, which really meant it could not exceed 3.2% alcohol and was more a diuretic than intoxicant. My sister and I would sit at the bar with our favored orange sodas — Pal for me and Tru-Ade for her.

We were mildly befuddled when I asked the barkeep about the name. They kept a crow in a cage at the bar, not a blue jay. He said they’d never had a jay and besides crows could actually talk, as his did.

If this rescue isn’t really a circle-of-life event, it at least brought childhood ties to mind. Worse things could happen.



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