Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Pharewell to Phoebes

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Avis perched on a stick outside the picnic tent. This was his first minute of freedom.

Today was freedom day for the two orphaned eastern phoebes we've (well, Julie and Phoebe) have been raising. It baffles the mind how quickly birds develop from squirming, barely feathered, helpless creatures, into fully flighted and feathered miracles. Avis and Luther (named by our very own Phoebe) have been catching their own flying food inside the picnic tent we erected, so Julie decided it was time for them to be released. We opened the zipper doors and within minutes both birds flitted to freedom.

Julie knew the phoebes were ready to go when they began catching their own free-flying food and became skittish around us.

This did not please our Phoebe at all. She LOVES every nestling or rehab bird we get and she's becoming quite a big help in the care and feeding of them. Julie saw Phoebe's dejected look and tears this afternoon and reminded here "This is why we got Chet Baker, so we'd always have something to love." This did not help Phoebe feel much better, but it made Chet happy.

Julie gives a lot to her birds, but she also gets a lot in return.

I am in awe of the effort Julie puts into saving these orphaned and injured birds. She does it out of love for them. But she also gets something out of them--intimate knowledge of the birds she cares for, a peek into the personalities of the individual birds, and she often draws and paints them from life. Very few of the birds that have shared our home over the years have not "made it." And that's a testimony to Julie's skills as a rehabber. She loves it, but it's also an incredible commitment. And this time of year, when the phone rings, it's often someone calling with a sick or injured or orphaned bird. Julie takes all the calls, even though we cannot take all the birds. One she cannot handle or our facilities cannot accommodate, we send along the The Wildlife Center in Columbus.

So farewell, little phoebes. Tonight is your first night out there in the big world. We did our best for you. Please be safe, be aware of possible danger, enjoy our pesticide-free populations of insects, and please, come back and see us! We miss you already.
It made little Phoebe Linnea Thompson quite sad to see her fellow phoebes go. But she knows it's best for them...


On June 28, 2006 at 1:26 AM Mike's Soap Box said...

hmmmm fresh phoebes just released in your yard today? I will come by and welcome them to the wild!!


Cooper's Hawk

On June 28, 2006 at 6:15 AM Bill said...

OK....let's just hope little Phoebe Linnea Thompson doesn't read the previous post from Coop!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and the shot of your Phoebe at the moment of release of the critter she's been caring for so diligently is a shot that anyone who has had to "let go" of a pet can relate to. Julie is, as we discussed yesterday...A JEWEL!

On June 28, 2006 at 7:12 AM Bill of the Birds said...

Thanks guys! BTW, the phoebes made it through their first night. We just fed both of them in the side yard.

On June 28, 2006 at 8:52 AM Anonymous said...

Fantastic post. Thanks for the update on the phoebe's first night too.

On June 29, 2006 at 1:57 PM Patrick Belardo said...

Your ladies sure put in an amazing effort for those birds. Congrats on a successful release. BTW, did Julie buy that AZ shirt at the Portal Peak Lodge? That's where I got mine.

On July 1, 2006 at 10:24 AM Bill of the Birds said...

J got her shirt from Lisa Walraven, the artist who created it. She and her hubby Wezil (yes, his real name) are great pals of ours. They live in Bisbee.