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The Serious Bird Addiction of Wile Doolittle

May 25, 2012

So, basically, we have swung the pendulum all the way from unattached, spur-of-the-moment New Yorkers in our youth to the Dr. Doolittle Family. And we don’t even have any children. DANG! What’s wrong with us! I was the sain sibling among the three of us who didn’t take home every stray cat (do you know how many “stray” barn cats you can find in one barn?), or every limping chicken that doesn’t make it onto the chicken truck to be your neighbor’s dinner (yes, Jewells did have pet chickens that she “rescued” from the chicken house catchers and their eminent demise, only for them to leave us little poop traps every day as we raced down the hill to the bus). I didn’t insist on every beta fish that someone else left in their apartment when they moved (yes, Jewells did cart a beta fish in a 7-11 cup across the country from Wyoming to Virginia that my neighbors left behind when they moved…). But now, I’m the dang Doolittle family! How? When? Oh why? Sometimes I think I prefer unattached, artistic New Yorker, leaving the attached animal-nut identity to my sister. But I can just let that dillusion go right now. I mean, I’ve started taking the cows for a walk! When I look out my window and see layers of animals who all interact in hilarious ways, I’m reminded just who we are. Llamas talk to a cat who gets chased by cows who follow a dog who loves to lay with chickens. And to add more variety, throw a few wild ones into the equation!

The thing is, even our dog has animal addictions! Wile, it seems, believes he is the bird police.

Two weeks ago, we came home one evening to find a little scruff of a baby bird sitting on one of the cement steps that leads to the house. Just sitting. “Can he fly?” I asked? No, Jason confirmed, he had been their earlier. Clearly had fallen pretty far out of his nest in the cedar trees. I wince at my own next question, at the unparalleled stupidity of it, and of the foreknowledge that both of us will turn a blind eye to its ridiculousness. “It’s going to drop to the high 30s tonight. Should we leave him outside?” I ask Jason, silencing the tiny, intelligent portion of my brain that already knows the lesson that there are too many barn cats in too many barns to ever feed or domesticate or neuter or love them all. Without hesitation, suppressing his own farm-raised intelligence that faces natural death in animals on a regular basis he says, “No, bring him in. Put him in Wile’s kennel.” Well, what do you think Wile did that night? He spent his whole night curled up right outside that kennel, his nose mere inches from the little bird. Aww, we thought, how cute! But we soon realized that just as much as Wile wanted proximity to his new friend, he also wanted to enforce Beacon’s proximity away from him. Wile’s eyes would follow Beacon’s every poised, elegant move around the mud room, and when necessary, with a sharp twist of his head or a high-pitched groan, Wile would say, “back off, cat. You may rule this roost, but I guard the bird. Got it?”

Ok, what is it with weirdos personifying their animals? I’m telling you, I used to think that too! Now I’ve become one of them!

So seriously, what did Wile do for the next week while the baby bird hung out in our front yard? You guessed it! Laid with him. Licked him. Guarded him. Barked at the chickens for getting too close, and checked on him every morning first thing. Damn Doolittle Dog. Thinks he’s the bird police!

The bird crying out for food every time Wile passes (notice Wile’s smile); Wile and the bird catching some sleep and some rays…

Jason trying to feed the bird a worm, to no avail. He will open his mouth to no one but Wile (and we suspect his mamma, in the night, when we are not looking).

Jason giving the little blackbird flying lessons

Well, potentially to our insane dog’s dismay, the unnamed blackbird did eventually find her wings and pursue her life in the sky. Who knows what crazy bird or animal will pop up next on this Doolittle farm. I’m Dr. Doolittle, alright! So glad I got that degree after all… 🙂

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 25, 2012 4:18 pm

    Beautiful story… and photos.

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