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A Box of Beaks

The birds around our home are losing their minds. I understand that the birds and the bees go bananas in the springtime but this level of intense courtship just seems a little too desperate.

Owls are hooting all night long, and our mockingbird starts his scales around two am and doesn’t stop until past noon. The red headed woodpeckers are fighting over territory space. Sweet little hummingbirds are dueling to the death in my purple duranta flowers. Our red shouldered hawks finally stopped screeching all day and are setting up house in the oaks. Flocks of crows are raucously chasing the hawks.

We have birds nesting in every available house top corner and running daily nonstop insect reconnaissance flights.

The noise is unreal.

Although I firmly shut the windows and retreated from the mayhem, spring decided to ooze in under the door and get right up in my face anyway.

My soft-hearted daughter rescued a four-pack of baby sparrows and brought them home in a box.

While waiting for her train, she watched employees at the depot go systematically along the path clearing out all the birds’ nests and cleaning up trash in general. They didn’t have the heart to sweep the baby birds into the rubbish bin, so they left them there on the sidewalk, fluffy and dazed.

And trusting. With great big Bambi eyes…….

No. Wait.

They have great big beaks. Beaks that open wide and chirp loudly when you make eye contact with them.

The pet store would not take them in, but she was able to get a supply of baby bird food and a container of meal-worms and instructions.

Once they were settled in at my daughter’s bed and breakfast resort, aka her dresser, reality set in. For me. My daughter, of course, goes to school and works full time.

“You’re gonna make an excellent Gramma!” encouraged my daughter as she started to sidle out the door.

And then she was gone. And I was left to serve meal-worm sushi rolls to four hungry chicks every 45 minutes…




They sprouted feathers right before my eyes and no doubt they would be flying within a week. The biggest one practically jumped out of the box at feeding time. The littlest guy needed frequent naps. I was never so glad to see the sun go down. I had a talk with my girl when she got home.

The next day she sat sadly in the car with her fluffy little wards, heading for the wildlife refuge center 20 miles away.

They gave her a number to call for progress reports, if she wanted to follow up on their fledging. As she had already named them and promised them each a pony if they came back to visit someday, she did.

She still carries a little resentment about my lack of grandparenting enthusiasm.

If I said it once, I’ve said it a million times.

I will be retiring to Tahiti. They can Skype me. But they can’t reach me.

Published inLiving Larger


  1. Kiki Kiki

    Another great article. Glad the baby birds were saved. So many people can relate to trying to raise baby wild animals. I love the humor you put into every blog. Your writing makes my day.

  2. Bettina Bettina

    Jolie, this entry was so funny (though your wit and charm come through in every piece)! I especially loved the last line: “They can Skype me, but they can’t reach me.” LOL…

  3. Pat Tunnell Pat Tunnell

    Hi Jolie, I just read your grand parenting experience. I must tell you how I look forward to opening the Forgetful Files and reading your stories. You always make me laugh and often take me back to a time in my life I have tucked away. Love, Pat

  4. Gerry Ann Gerry Ann

    Jolie, I’ve read the whole blog up through today’s post. You have a wonderful talent. So much for me to relate to here – right down to the baby birds. You make me laugh. It will become a book. Who knew, when we took on the elevated (in our own minds) status of wife and mother “hood” that there would be so much fodder for torture and entertainment? Love it. Best, Gerry Ann

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