I called the found bird Treasure.
Each morning I clear my mind of all expectations, ready for the possibility that Treasure (T) has expired. This way I am surprised each morning.
Expertly perched on the edge of its nest, open mouthed but quiet, T waited for me. It still has not been labeled with a gender or even a species, but has become part of our family.
Princess is jealous, showing signs of regression as her perception of her birth-order status undergoes adjustment.
“I want to be the baby,” she says.
But she is no baby; Princess recently graduated from Kindergarten.
She objects to the Baby-ese we use to speak to T, and the attention T gets, perched on us in the evening.
Farmer tells her there will soon be baby rabbits, and asks if she’ll be jealous of those, too. But the rabbits aren’t in our house, sitting on us, and being spoon fed every half hour.
A scanty roll of black straws (pinfeathers) has unravelled to give T some descent looking wings, but baby fuzz still sticks out all over them; and other than the Gonzo hairdo, T’s skull around the eyes is still all naked.
I love to watch Farmer bond with T, call it an ugly bird, and then laugh at its response; feeding T and picking it up to perch on his hand. This does so remind me of watching him play with Princess some six years ago, and I think T is good for his weary soul.
I dreamed I was pregnant and told Farmer as he left the house for his weekday job. He shuddered. His next life change will be retirement, not another dive into fatherhood.
Treasure sleeps beside me as I write this. Changing by the day, it won’t be long until this little black bird is flying from shoulder to shoulder and moving around the yard with us.
As though T were our baby, there is a growing familiarity, a curiosity between us. All the fun of discovery without diapers, and being woken in the night. It is feedings on demand into a wide open mouth. Feedings take one minute instead of half an hour, and simultaneously we are being educated in wild bird development.