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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Bennett

What's wild at your house?

One of the tamer birds that were released here on the farm, after being orphaned and injured, is Dana, who has a husband named Evil Kneival. The two of them stayed together after release and made a nest in a nearby bird house. We have been watching them as the baby hatched, grew, and fledged. Even with just one baby, they were quite busy, both feeding themselves, and delivering bugs to the newborn. Things really got busy when the baby got to be full-sized, and Dana and Evil would look at us through the sliding doors while we were making dinner for ourselves, and if birds could drool, they would have been. So we began feeding them the same mushy mynah baby food mixture that we had raised a number of babies on, and they happily would dive into it, eat a bit squealing with delight, then take mouthfuls back to their kid. It would be funny to watch Dana, as a busy mom, take some food, then drop it, and go back to pick it up, and drop more, then try to pick up some of the first dropped mouthful, and generally look quite rushed and harried. It reminded me of myself on busy days, where I'm rounding up laundry, towels, things to put away, and dropping them, and trying to pick things I dropped previously, while I drop more because my hands are so full!

So I began giving Dana extra food, making sure Evil didn't push her out of the way like he usually did. A few days later, Dana came to me on the other side of the house than I fed her from, with a small, colorful, round leaf in her mouth. She walked up to my feet and looked up at me, staying very still, with the leaf still in her upturned beak. So I cautiously bent down and gently took the leaf from her beak---a bit surprised-- and told her how thoughtful that was and how I appreciated the gift. I'm guessing that she felt satisfied I understood and flew off to be with her family.

I have the leaf still, and am keeping it. It's one of my more precious gifts. That a wild animal would want to give me a gift strains credulity, but I had no doubt, in the moment, of her intention. It's on the refrigerator now, and I will treasure it as a reminder of the goodwill between us-- wild animal and human-- and how despite our vast differences, we can still communicate and have tokens of our unasked for friendships.

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