Never Mess with a Mother Bird

Kids are embarrassing. We all know that. They wreak havoc in grocery stores and tell strangers our secrets, but they are not the sole source of our embarrassment. Sometimes we can handle that all on our own. In fact, I’m very good at that. Until this last week, I have been proud of the fact that I have never been YouTube-worthy. I fear I may have ruined that.




It had been a semi-stressful day. Only for the fact that I was required to speak in public at our bi-annual sales training — an engagement that I couldn’t wing the way that I like to do. Luckily, my ability to fully black out the memory of any public speaking had fully kicked in, and I walked back to the office with my two co-workers blissfully not recalling a thing. The blissful walk stalled when one of my co-workers noticed a baby bird that had left the nest before it was able to fly.

Its mom was calling to it from the branches above. It called back. It was a sad sight, but I was ready to keep going after a minute or two. My co-worker, however, was not. She was googling what to do. Apparently, if you take a baby bird to a bush, its mom will care for it until it is ready to fly. What we needed was a plan to get the baby to the bush. It wasn’t going to allow us the luxury of time. It began hopping toward the road, hopping to its certain death.

There wasn’t time to talk. Someone had to do something. Fine, I thought, if we’re going to do this, then we’d better do something before it becomes squashed roadkill. I stepped in front of it and coaxed it to turn around as my co-worker handed me a notebook to carry it to the bush. After a short time, it hopped on. Heroic, right?

Turns out, heroic doesn’t work the same way in real life as it does in storybooks. I was in a dress, and the bird was too small to survive a fall from any higher than six inches off the ground. In an effort to ensure its life was saved and to not show my entire rear to the city of Bloomington, I made my way to the bush in the lowest walking squat position I’ve ever done.

My thighs were burning, but it was going well until I heard the wild squawk of the mama bird dive-bombing me from the air. From my crouched position, I could see it fly sharply down, barely missing my head and then sharply back up. The noises were prehistoric, and it was relentless. My co-worker who was supposed to be on mama bird watch was laughing too hard to aid. The laughter got louder as the spooked baby bird spread its wings and let out a wild screech like a ragged feathered pterodactyl trying to ward of its predators.

It was a scene, but eventually I did make it to the bush, and the mama bird came to care for the baby. We were admiring the good work we’d done when a man ran out from the bank across the street.

Laughing, he said, “We watched that whole thing on the security cameras.”

As if that wasn’t humiliating enough, I knew this man. He was the daycare dad who had once witnessed (and pointed out) that I had dropped off Maddie at daycare wearing one slipper and one work shoe. This episode solidified my spot as the town crazy for him, I’m sure. The world is cruel sometimes.

So, if it ever makes it off the security cameras and onto YouTube, now you know the full story. It was just one mama trying to save another mama’s baby.