Bird Fever

DSCF7711I always told my boys that if they ever caught a wild bird they could keep it. I should never have told them that.

I think I got it from my grandpa. Growing up when all the cousins g0t together he’d round us up and tell us that if we caught a bird he’d pay us.

I can’t remember how much – $1 was a lot to me back then – but I remember carrying nets, hunting his neighborhood for wildlife. I was usually the smallest so I’d have to run twice as hard as my kin – all the while praying that my short, stubby legs would fly me fast enough to catch a bird.

We had some good times.

So to keep with family tradition, I told my boys that if they ever caught a bird they could keep it (no monetary reward, but still).

Well this week they did.

Were in the process of moving. Our new house has a pretty big backyard, but it’s kind of a wilderness. There are hundreds of dandelions, dozens of birds and even a few snakes.

Some of our good friends came over Monday night to help us move stuff from our storage shed to our house. I warned my friend that we saw three snakes in the back yard on Sunday and that I had banned my boys from going back there.

Not because the snakes are dangerous but because they are disgusting. They slither and sneak and they freak both me and my boys out.

But as soon as their friends came over, my boys instantly became brave. They snatched up their new bug nets and headed to the snake-infested corner of our yard with their friends trailing behind them.

They didn’t see one snake. But they found a baby bird and they rescued it. (Apparently it was drowning in a puddle in the back yard.)

They cared for that bird all night. Even though I told them not to, they cupped that cute little thing in their hands and carried it around searching for seeds to feed to it. They even built it a nest filled with twigs, leaves, flowers and seeds.


I didn’t like the idea of them carrying around a bird. Especially because if the bird was weak enough that they could catch it, chances are it was pretty sick – believe me I have tried to catch a lot of birds but with no success.

I was worried they would catch bird fever, or some random bird-bred virus, from their furry, feathered friend.

Sadly for them (luckily for me) the bird was nowhere to be found in the morning. It probably hopped out of its nest and wandered off. Maybe the prospect of being cared for by four small children thrust it back into full health and it flew off.

Hopefully we won’t find it “sleeping” in the back yard.

It was a true adventure and even though the bird is gone, they loved every minute of it.

And they seem to be pretty healthy. No apparent disease. However I think they did catch some sort of bird fever. Now all my 5-year-old talks about is getting a pet bird. If I ever agree to that, we’ll go “catch” it from a pet store. That way I know it’s clean.


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