Our baby blackbird Treasure (T) is not lost.
It flies to me throughout the day just long enough to eat softened cat food, and then takes flight like a busy teenager who just comes home to eat.
T has nearly all his/her feathers now, with tiny ones still filling in around the eyes, and tail feathers gaining an inch in length. Ahh, they change so fast, become independent, and need us less and less.
T lives outside entirely and has managed to avoid hunting barn cats and our bird dog, who only needs a stern look from me to go cowering to her doghouse when T’s down from the trees.
The experience has been an exercise in letting go – as if raising a teenage daughter wasn’t enough for me.
My son suggested we keep T forever in a cage.
No. I explained the best case scenario is T becomes independent, and flies off with other blackbirds come fall.
Planning to stay all day, and perhaps overnight, at my brother’s cabin, we took T. Travelling an hour over Highway 18 rendered T too upset to even eat. T flew up into the shelter over a picnic table, and stayed there a while, then off into the trees to find peace. We didn’t hear T noises for quite a while.
Then several times throughout the day, T came back to the campsite for feedings. When I took the kids for a swim, T even accepted food from others.
After supper, I was ready to go, but T was still off in some tree near the river. We discussed the possibility of leaving the bird with its food in my brother’s care, even though he was already planning to take care of my kids and his three by himself.
Then T found me in the crowd of visitors and I quickly put him/her into the cage. But not before one of my uncles had a chance to look at him.
“That’s a drackle.” he commented. “I have all kinds of those lying dead all over my yard.”
I thought Uncle’s was an interesting point of view. While others were charmed by Treasure and found feeding and handling a wild thing fascinating, to Uncle, Treasure was as good as dead.
Still, male or female; whether T is a Brewers’ Blackbird, Grackle, or even uncle’s Drackle; this bird will always be our Treasure.