Saving the Wild West

Another Hummingbird

I had the kitchen door opened for the cat while I was having breakfast.  Hadn’t noticed her coming in with a tiny bird.  She had it downstairs in the bedroom.  It appeared to be unharmed (just traumatized), so I put it outside, on the edge of the birdbath, as I figured that would be best in this heat.  (It will be cooling down to 105° this weekend said the weather report.)  It didn’t fly away, but slid down into the water, getting its tail wet.  So I presumed it couldn’t fly.

It looked like a female hummingbird – just a brownish color, with a long thin beak. Holding it in my hand I went online to see if there was a hummingbird rescue in Tucson.  Ended up calling a number in Phoenix that was on the Web.  The woman said that she’d give me a number in Tucson, so I set the bird in my lap to hold the cell phone and write at the same time, and it started to fly!  What a rush!  Gave the woman a quick thank you, grabbed the cat and shut her out of the room, cornered the bird and put it outside where it immediately flew away.

Baby Rabbit

Before I made the call I had considered what I would have to do to nurse it to health myself (this before it flew), feeding it sugar water with an eyedropper.  Too much trouble!  But I remember when I was a little kid some boy in the neighborhood (back in Michigan) found a nest of baby rabbits (who knows what had happened to the mother) and gave one baby to each of us on the block.  Ours was the only one that lived ‘cause my mother fed it pablum from an eyedropper, probably every three hours, even in the middle of the night!

My father made a cage for it with a welded wire bottom so we could put it outside on the grass if it wanted to munch on green.  My brother and I would sometimes take it out of the cage to play with it.  One morning we lost it behind the couch in the living room just before the school bus showed up, so we had to leave Mom with the problem.

When it was a few months old we took it out into the country to let it go in a meadow next to a forest.  Probably got eaten by a predator, but my parents weren’t up to a pet wild rabbit, and we already had a dog.

Mice

At one point, however, I did have a few white mice.  They were for a junior high science experiment.  I had each one of the four in a different color aquarium to see how color affected activity, which I noted every few hours when I was home.  Three of the aquariums were the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, and the other clear, as the control.  However, my younger brother liked to take them out to play with them (no doubt messing up my experiment).

One day he and a friend had them in his bedroom running through the arms of their winter jackets which were spread on the floor.  My mother returned from grocery shopping to a note on the kitchen table.  We have lost one of the mice.  Have gone out to walk the dog.  When the boys returned my mother bellowed so loud that the friend ran all of the way home.  She imagined the mouse getting into a heater duct and dying, the rotten smell permeating the house.  She was vacuuming for her bridge party when she spotted it on my dressing table.  She shrieked, and my brother needed to “save” her.  I had to get rid of the mice after that.  The experiment was inconclusive.

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