In just 12 short hours he had become a symbol of new life, of nature and nurturing and maternal instinct and the embodiment of everything I was about to embark on in my new journey; and then suddenly became the manifestation of all of my fears of inadequacy and failure.
I was seven months pregnant when I found an injured baby bird hopping around the middle of the road in front of our house.
He was lethargic and in a daze. I didn’t know if he had a broken wing or had just been tousled by a passing car. Either way I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him scared and alone, to starve or fall prey to a scavenging animal.
I had no clue how to care for a baby bird. There were stacks of baby books in my house but none were going to help me with this. Still, my pregnancy emotions had hijacked all logic and convinced me I had to nurse him back to health. I was going to be a mother soon — I should be able to do something.
I placed the bird in a basket full of grass and twigs with a tiny bowl of water and took to Google…
Grey and white speckled bird
New York state bird species
bird grey beak
how to feed baby bird
give baby bird water
heal broken wing
It said I should place some bird seed in a shallow bowl nearby. It said I should keep the bird near a window where he could get sunlight. It said I could concoct a sling out of a torn piece of sock to support the weight of an injured wing. It said to try giving him water from a small dropper. It said the bird I had found was a baby mourning dove, just around the age where they start learning to fly, and so they often fall from the nest unable to return.
And then it said that if you find one, you should leave it where it is because its parents will be watching over it to chase away danger and bring it food until it’s able to take flight.
My heart sank.
In trying to protect him I had probably done the worst possible thing. There was no returning him to his habitat now. Dusk was setting in and I knew a predator would snatch him up before his family found him again.
This post originally appeared in Her View From Home.
Read the full essay here.