My Baby Bird

The Cutest Baby Bird
It was the strangest thing, and has been quietly haunting me ever since it happened.

We were on our way out the door to surprise a friend on his birthday, saying goodbye to a guest who had spent the night and was now on his way to Colorado, by bicycle. Tom had taken the first load of things out to the car, when he called me, and pointed out a small baby bird, still slightly downy, hopping and cheeping on our walkway. It didn’t seem able to fly yet, and could only manage a few feet in a flutter.

That was interesting, and I thought maybe I’d go out and take a picture. I sat down on the sidewalk, and started taking pictures, and the little guy (girl?) started hopping toward me. I held still, delighted to be getting a close-up view, and trying not to frighten it away. I shouldn’t have worried about that. It hopped straight up to me, and cuddled in next to my leg. When I moved away, it followed me and settled in again. It seemed cold (in spite of the down coat?), and desperately cute.

The baby bird hopped right up to me and snuggled in for warmth.
The only explanation for this one being out on its own, that I could think of, was that he’d been kicked out of his nest by a stronger sibling or something, and left without help from his parents, hopping and peeping as it was, it was probably going to end up as a coyote snack, if it didn’t die of exposure or starvation first.

Normally, I can be fairly stoic when it comes to natural selection. In nature, sometimes even the really cute little guys get killed and eaten, but then the cute little guys rarely make a personal plea. They rarely come right up and ask for a little warmth. It had snuggled up to me. It had started a Relationship.

Crap.

I know nothing about how to care for a young bird. I didn’t know what kind of bird it was, or what it would normally eat. If we fed it, would it still learn to forage for itself eventually? Even more of an issue, we were leaving for a 3 day weekend in San Diego. We couldn’t take it with us, or care for it while it was here. so, we settled for leaving an old fleece jacket on the sidewalk with the little bird, and continued packing the car. Almost immediately, the bird settled into the jacket and I was able to pick up jacket and bird and move it to a more sheltered location. Then we left.

What kind of bird is this?
Tom wondered aloud whether we’d really done it a favor or not. Starving to death doesn’t sound like a good way to go. Maybe it would have been better for it to have been left more exposed, to die more quickly from a predator.

We’ll never know. When we got back, the little bird was gone.

I learned later, that sometimes when a young bird is first learning to fly, it spends some time hopping and flapping furtively on the ground, with the mother bird nearby, before getting itself straightened out and getting on with its life. I choose to believe that is what happened to my little bird.

Of all the birds in Yosemite, this little brown bird is my new favorite kind of bird… or would be if someone can tell me what kind of bird it is.

8 thoughts on “My Baby Bird

  1. Daniel

    Ask Tom, it look like a “moineau” on french… Sometime, when birds are young, you can give them milk for baby cats. They will not make “miaou”, but will have something to eat. Then you can give them some other food for animals, not too solid of course… Hope he will have a long life with You and Tom 😉

  2. Tom

    Mmm… pas sûr. Je n’ai jamais vu un moineau dans Yosemite West et selon Storer et Usinger, Sierra Nevada Natural History, p. 307 le moineau ne va que rarement au-delà des collines au pied des Sierras, normalement presque 1000m plus bas que nous.

    And for the non-francophones…. according to Storer and Usinger, Sierra Nevada Natural History, p. 307, “Only occasionally does it venture beyond the foothills”. It’s primarily a resident of the towns on the lower edge of the Sierra.

  3. Steve

    My guess woud be a house / English / common sparrow … Which I seem to remember is not a true sparrow at all. Do a google image search for it – include “fledgling” and you might get enough of a variety to verify this …

  4. Daniel

    Thank you Tom for this infos, and Theresa for taking care of this bird 🙂 Hope you all 3 are well and happy 😉

  5. Josh

    It chose you as a surrogate mama!! If it’s cold and it goes to you it means it thinks your mama and if you leave it where you found it it will surly die cause it can’t live without mom!! If it was cold you should have taken it home right away!! It’s a regular house sparrow.

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