Swallows Swallowed

I love how God uses real life lessons to support our homeschooling endeavors!  Countless times, He brings people or situations into our lives just during or after we have studied them.  What an opportunity to take our head knowledge and put it to practical use!

One such opportunity recently fell (literally) onto our own front porch …

Walking out the door one day, I looked down and noticed a baby bird had fallen out of the nest on our front porch.  We have been watching these birds since before their eggs were hatched. 

Day after day, the parents carefully built the nest, laid the eggs, and then patiently sat waiting for their big arrivals.

The nest was well located, approximately 12(‘sh) feet above our front door securely attached to the brick wall.  Even with our highest ladder, we could not reach the nest, and felt therefore that no other predator could either.

On this day, however, we found the newly born bird laying on the porch and covered in ants.  It was a sad day.  We have spent the last several months studying birds, their behavior and reproduction and now with the opportunity to see it all up close, this poor little baby lay as a feast to the relentless jaws of Texas ants.

Cleaning and spraying for ants (again), we remained hopeful that the rest of the birds would stay put in their snug abode.

The next day, however, we noticed yet another baby bird fledged too early and was sitting on the porch. 

Then, yet again, a third bird found its way there too.

Quickly, we rescued them from the ants, placing inside a small dog carrier, and determined to do what we could to save their lives.

For the next couple of days we noticed their frailty.  We contacted both the local Audobon Center and a Wildlife Rescue facility for information.  We fed them with a dropper and kept them indoors at night, but outdoors in full view by their parents during the day.

The third day, we noticed a marked improvement in their health and rejoiced over how much attention their parents were giving inside the opened crate.

Remaining in the nest were two more babies, so the parents flew back and forth between the crate, now on a chair on the porch, and the nest high above the door.

As the boys and I continued to monitor the babies in both places, I opened the door, noted the babies in the crate, then peered up only to be shocked and surprised and definately very, very frightened!  This was the sight I saw…

Let me just point out here that I. DON’T. DO. SNAKES!  If a snake wants this house, it is more than welcome to HAVE IT!  I will gladly take my purse, laptop, kids, and keys and leave the perimeter for as long as a snake wants to inhabit the premises!  So, as you can imagine, I was pretty much FREAKED out at this point!  

My boys, on the other hand, thought it was the coolest thing in the world.

We called the city who transferred the call to the county, who promptly responded by sending a police man to save the day.  Praise the Lord for policemen and women who protect our country from drugs, murderers, evil-doers, and SNAKES!

He knocked down the nest, snake and all, and promptly cut it into several pieces.

We could see the bulge of each of the two remaining baby birds inside the snake’s stomach.  Poor babies 😦

(…and of course, my boys had to squeeze the birds out of the snake…yuck!)

By the way……I noticed how disgusting the smell of the snake was within just a few minutes of dying.  Gurrose!

Once things calmed down and the snake was gone, we began to turn our attention once again to the two birds in the crate.  Those poor parents who had so faithfully cared for their children were sitting on the roof tops mourning the deaths of now three of five birds. 

Even more so, the boys and I remained determined to save these birds.

It’s been several days since the snake incident.  We were rewarded with seeing one of the baby birds fly from its nest crate.  The second bird has a problem with one of its wings so we continue to closely watch over it.  Three or four times it has made it to the top of the crate and jumped off, however that wing just won’t work correctly.  We are thinking it might have possibly been hurt in the fall from the nest.

Until it is ready for flight, we continue this up close and practical application of our new-found Ornithology wisdom.   I never knew bird watching was so rewarding and fun!

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9 Comments

Filed under Children, Creation, Death, God, Gross, Home School, Homeschool, homeschooling, Life

9 responses to “Swallows Swallowed

  1. Aaack! A snake!!! Oh. My. Goodness! I would’ve died right then. I don’t do snakes, either! And to think it got UP THERE! And poor baby birds!

    Okay, you have me freaked out now, and I no longer want to go outside!

    We recently had an incident with a baby bird in our yard. It apparently fledged too early and broke a wing on its way down. It flopped around, got upright, hopped, then flopped over again. We watched from a window as the mama bird would bring it something to eat every few minutes. It managed to make it about 9 feet away from where we first saw it, but by the afternoon, it had died.

    I hate that we didn’t do more, but I really wasn’t sure what we could do. I read where that type of bird (a starling, I believe) will fledge its babies, then take care of them on the ground for a day or two before leaving them to fend for themselves – at which point they should be able to fly. Sadly this one didn’t make it. (I also read that about 75% of them don’t live past the first year…) Also, I know birds have mites and can carry diseases, so I was little afraid of that aspect of it…

    What a great (and sometimes sad and scary!) learning experience for the boys! Just keep your snakes at your house! (You are closer to the pond than we are…) 😉

    • We look everyday for more snakes now! Especially seeing that it was young, I figure there are more around somewhere. Yuck!

      • Young?!? Seriously?!? That snake looked BIG! What kind was it? Oh, and I’m so paranoid now about your snake, that I fear going out in my backyard to check my garden’s progress!

      • It was a rat snake….probably 3’sh feet long? Small enough for me to know “Momma and Daddy” may not be far behind, and big enough to scare the “Bajeebies” out of me!

  2. EW! SNAKES! I hate them, too! HOW on Earth did it get up there though.? That is crazy! Great job on taking care of the baby birds, I bet your boys are loving that 🙂 Something they will always remember.

    • Thanks Heather! The policeman said that snakes can climb brick walls. Before now, I would have never thought it to be possible that one could get so high. Now, I can’t walk out the door without first checking above my head!

  3. reginadarling

    Yikes. I was with you until the snake was killed. It’s not that I’m in love with them or anything, but I guess that’s how growing up on a farm changed me. Sad and scary? Yes. Capital offense? I’m not so sure. But I love, love, LOVE that you took the time to help those sweet baby birds! What a great lesson for your kids!

  4. Pingback: Swallow Saved | YET TO BE ME

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