By Denise Albert
Cooking in Bloom is about nutrition and making easy recipes, but we're also about sustainability and making good choices that impact the world around us. So today, I wanted to share with you a story from our family that's all about using an opportunity nature presented to us as a teachable moment. You see, we made a family decision last year to homeschool our oldest. It has been nice to be able to draw parallels between science and math and everyday life. He is a big help around the house! For example, taking the dogs on a walk or going shopping with me. I like to use these everyday experiences as real life lessons that tie back to his classes-- we can talk about, for example, the oxygen cycle on our walks or about simple math at the store.
The other day my son and I were in the backyard weeding and watering the flowers and herbs we had planted in spring when all of a sudden, something caught my eye. Was that a Christmas wreath around a light near the deck? Oh my goodness! How had I missed that?
At first, I felt slightly embarrassed, I mean it is May and I put it up back in November, but that soon gave way to a good laugh. It's in a location where it could easily have been overlooked and we all must have gotten used to seeing it and then became blind to it. I stepped up on a chair and pulled it down, handing it to my son. I wasn't going to repack this weather-worn wreath so I set it to the side yard to go into the trash.
As we walked over to care for the pots of herbs closest to where the wreath had been hanging I noticed a little pink-gray blob on the ground. Investigating, it was a baby bird. Hairless and still blind, apparently we had robbed it of its warm home. "Oh my goodness!" I exclaimed, rushing over to the wreath. Sure enough, there was a nest and a few of the birds were wriggling on the cold ground. "What do we do," I said, more rhetorically than anything. My son, remaining calm, replied, "We have to help them, mommy."
I have always heard that you should never touch a baby bird because our predator scent will transfer to the chick. Instead of a safe haven in harmony with humans, all of a sudden the birds will feel threatened and abandon the nest and their babies. Looking around for a tool to scoop the birds up I saw some styrofoam cups. Perfect! So we rehung the wreath, gently scooped the birds and placed them back in the nest being very careful not to hurt them or get our scent on them.
With trepidation we watched and waited for signs of the parents. At first, nothing. My mind was racing thinking of ways we might be able to care for and feed these small creatures, knowing at their young age it would most likely be futile, when suddenly a robin appeared nearby. After surveying the situation and cautiously eyeing the curious humans peering through the window, she flew up to the nest and delivered nourishment and warmth to her babies.
Each day we track their progress. They are slowly growing and getting fluffier with downy feathers. Momma continues to keep an eye on us too knowing we are nearby, but she doesn't seem too afraid. After all, we returned her Christmas wreath condo and promise not to evict her little family until all the little ones fly away.
UPDATE: When I went to get a photo for this blog post there was a NEW nest and eggs inside it so the experiment continues!
Some things we've learned that you might enjoy: