Mailbox surprise. →
My mom, who'll be 94 on the 26th (shhh, she doesn't want anyone to know), made an unusual discovery in her mailbox recently. You see, her mailman helps her out by putting the mail on the steps in the garage, so she doesn't really use the box out by the street at the end of the drive. Come 4th of July, she happened to check the box and saw what she thought were a lot of weeds and debris in there. So she took a stick and cleaned it out (mom likes everything neat and clean). Well, when she looked down on the ground, what did she see but not weeds and random debris like she thought, but yes, you guessed it, a nest, with four teeny tiny birds, the size of the tip of your pinky, she said, and one unhatched egg.
Needless to say, my mom felt so bad. She loves birds and throws out birdseed and scraps all winter long to feed them. "I felt like a murderer," she told me on the phone. She didn't know what to do. She left the nest on the ground, and later that afternoon, at my brother's for a barbecue, she made him call the Humane Society, but he couldn't get through. "A murderer," she repeated. One of the tiny birds, she said, had its mouth way open, looking for a worm.
All was not lost, though. After the barbecue, my other brother's girlfriend went back to the house with my mom, put on some rubber gloves, picked up the nest (the baby birds were still alive) and put it back in the mailbox. All the next day, my mom sat in a chair by the window and watched for the mama bird. But she never saw the mama bird.
When the man who's been making some repairs on the house showed up, she told him the story and he checked on the birds. They were alive he said; he even went in the backyard and got them some worms. He broke up the worms and fed them to the birds.
I was alarmed at this. I worried that with so much human contact, maybe the mama bird would abandon the nest. But turns out, about a week later, the guys that take care of my mom's lawn checked on the nest and the babies were thriving. My mom looked in the box and saw it was true. The babies were bigger and the mama seemed to have pushed the nest further into the mailbox. The guys who take care of the lawn also said they saw the mama bird, up on a branch. The head guy, who's known my mom for years, said the mama bird won't return to the nest if there's a crow around, for instance, for fear of tipping the crow there's a nest in there. In another week or so, they'll be gone, he said. Grown and flown away.
I'm so glad for my mom they didn't die. I didn't want her to feel like a "murderer."
Have I mentioned that I love my mom?