Bird Brains

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

H’lo, Bart here.

Well there’s snow again, finally. ‘Bout time, if you ask me. The woods get kinda dull in winter without a white blanket to make things look clean and crisp, like a freshly made bed.

Not that I know anything about freshly made beds. I’ve heard tell, that’s all. I know there’s three kinds of freshly made beds – too hard, too soft and just right.

That’s the legend among us bears, anyhow.

Most of MY freshly made stuff is exactly the kind of junk the new snow covers up, which is why we like it so much. The woods can get kinda messy and gross, to tell the truth. Gotta love the snow.

It’s funny, because people think we bears and all the other wild creatures hate the “bad” weather and run from it and complain about it, just like you do. But for us, the weather is the weather – we never think about changing it or how it could be better than it is.

What’s the point of that? I would shrug right now but I don’t have the shoulders for it.

So anyway, I was surprised to see this article the other day about birds having the power to sense severe storms days in advance and then they take action to avoid them, which makes birds look pretty smart.

Read it if you like. Some people think this means that birds are oh-so sensitive and highly intelligent because they can fly out of the way of bad weather the same way we would if only we could be so smart for even a day.

Some are even saying we should let pigeons do the daily TV forecast – that they would rescue us from harm because of their extreme weather smarts.

Seriously, though, that’s not a good idea. I’ve known a few birds and they’re as dumb as stones. Pigeons especially!  Not really hero material.  Not even close.  Suppose they knew some bad weather was coming – so what?  Birds wouldn’t be able to tell you why, or how they knew, or what to do about it, except “Fly!”

That’s pretty much the whole bird vocabulary right there. “Eat”. “Poop”. “Fly”. Not the kind of TV role model you want for your kids.

I’m not saying birds are worthless. You just have to know who you’re dealing with. Here’s a YouTube video from the Budapest Zoo that pretty much sums it up:

So I’m a creature of the woods. I don’t know what it’s like to be a zoo bear. But if I was set up in a pen like this with tons of visitors every day, I’d want to keep it tidy. Lots of people say this bear was trying to save the bird, but I think she was just trying to get that annoying thing out of her water. They can cause such a ruckus, and for what?

All that squawking, flailing and flapping would make people forget to look at the cool bear!

Your pal,

When have you rescued a wild creature?

57 thoughts on “Bird Brains”

    1. ( l just finished writing a lengthy story only to have it disappear just before saving it or posting!) Our first winter at the cottage, the bay froze over except for a 3′ wide hole of open water near our shoreline. Two canada geese and one mallard began to huddle closely together in the hole. Two weeks went by and they were still there. We were sure that they’d freeze or starve to death so we began tossing different kinds of food their way day after day. We named them Harry, Moe, and Larry.

      One day while l was on the phone with the DNR, a huge bald eagle swooped down and carried Moe the mallard away. l screamed out, “My God, my God!!” and watched in horror as the poor thing was de-feathered while still alive. The DNR lady gently explained that this was all about the “food chain”. She seemed to be saying that Moe would be in a better place and the eagle would profit.

      This left us with what we assumed to be two flightless geese. The DNR referred us to a bird rescue lady. We gathered a team of humanitarians together, hand made a 20’wide cloth barrier, and set up chicken wire at the back of the property. A few of us risked going out way past Larry and Harry to try to herd them into our trap. After several tries, the birds headed onto land and were finally trapped. Then, the most amazing thing happened: they took off in full flight!

      l guess they were either too unmotivated or too dumb to fly south

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My only successful rescues were two baby squirrels. One was so little I had to feed it pretty much around the clock at first. I know I’ve written about it on the trail before.

    Our airdale had killed the mother, but I managed to get to the baby before Bess killed it too. Because it needed to be fed every few hours, I brought it to work with me in a shoe box. Once word got out that I had a baby squirrel in my office, a steady stream of visitors came to check on it.

    About a week later, Hans and I were going on vacation, and because the baby squirrel was still too small to leave, we took it along on our camping trip to Glacier National Park. That squirrel slept in the front pocket of my hoodie when riding in the car, and in it’s shoebox in the tent at night. In addition the baby formula I fed it with a bottle, it soon ate whatever we ate, but was particularly fond of nuts, M&Ms and spaghettios. It sat on my shoulder when we were hiking in the mountains and people would ask if we were stealing the wildlife. It was free to run up trees whenever it wanted, and it always came back. It took care of all it’s business whenever it was outside, and was a delightful small companion.

    By the time we arrived back home after a couple of weeks in the mountains, it was grown enough to fend for itself. The day we arrived home, it took off up a tree, and we never saw it again. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say it didn’t come to us again; we really can’t tell one squirrel from another. It was fun while it lasted, but we were glad it was back where it belonged.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I “rescued” a few in my life, mostly in my childhood, by ending pain and suffering.
    In HS there was a small ski hill which was an 8 mile drive from my house, but was about two miles cross-country. My friends who I rode with to ski thought it would be funny to pretend to abandon me–boys you know. So I headed out cross-country having no idea how it would work. I quickly found an animal track/trail to follow, along which someone had set rabbit snares. Two rabbits were caught in the snares. I turned them loose and one followed my for several hundred yards. Neither seemed to have been much hurt by the snares. My father who had grown up trapping animals as ordered by his drunken father, hated snares, from which I developed that attitude, not that I much like trapping. (My friends came back looking for me but figured out what I had done.)
    I must have done other rescues on my childhood, being always in the woods, but I do not remember it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of my childhood “rescues” involved birds that had fallen out of the nest. No matter how desperately I tried to save them, they never survived. Then I became the person responsible for giving them a decent burial. I’ve presided over quite a few funerals for baby birds.


  3. Good afternoon. Off to a late start which is okay as far as I’m concerned. Mostly I rescue wild animals in self defense.

    I’m thinking of several critters that were trapped in our house where we didn’t want them. This includes a couple of bats that I covered with a blankets and released outside. Also, there was a squirrel that fell down our chimney and crawled through the furnace into the house. I chased him out the door. Another time a bird was trapped in the house and was also chased out the door.


    1. I have released a few bats from our houses, but I think I was rescuing Sandy, not the bats. We bought an antique piece of furniture (an old HS wood shop workbench with vise, drawers,door) on a camping trip. Put it in the back of the pickup and came home by some rather rough roads, a back route. To get it in the house I tipped it on end to use a dolly. When I got it up six steps into the house, I set it in place and opened the door. Inside were two pieces of crockware marked at over $100 total. Neither was broken. The next day I called the store and they sent a UPS call tag and paid us for the box and padding. It got there fine so we rescued crockery. But that night a bat appeared on our main floor. When I called I mentioned the bat, which I caught in a fish net and released. They said they had been trying to catch a bat for a few days.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nutsy the Squirrel. I posted about him once before. Nutsy crawled up to us when he was so small his eyes hadn’t opened. We fed him oatmeal, although that’s not on the menu for most squirrels. He thrived on it. Nutsy was fun as he ran up and down the drapes and hid nuts in our clock (a windup mantel clock). Then he got to be a teenager and he made the mistake of biting my dad on the thumb. We instantly took him to a distant oak grove and let him go. That led to a bizarre attempt to reunite with Nutsy the next day, the family wandering in tears through the oaks crying “Nusy, Nutsy!” My mom was sobbing beyond any comfort. “Poor Nutsy! He thinks nuts come in cellophane packs!” Later we heard a squirrel walked out of that park and into a gas station, where it was plopped in a cage and lived the rest of its life contentedly eating nuts from cellophane packs.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. My dad had a baby squirrel he fed that would run up his arm to get closer to the food. He also liked to leave milk out for stray cats. The ladies in the condo association weren’t too happy about it. The day of his funeral this stray cat came for its regular bowl of milk, even though dad had been with us in ND for 5 months. I like to think it came to pay its respects.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I would never rescue a squirrel. Here in south Mpls, squirrels are the WORST, as Seedy Jim can testify. They are about as cute as a sewer rat to me, that is to say, if I see a sick or dying squirrel, it makes me happy that there is one less squirrel in my neighborhood.

    I have rescued two stray cats. But actually, those cats were choosing me, so maybe I wasn’t rescuing them so much as they rescued me. I have to harden my heart often when I see a stray cat; I just can’t take them all into the fold.


  7. Why can’t I remember any of these stories that are supposedly reruns?

    I saved a couple of baby squirrels fro Charlie the Cat once – happened to be in the back yard when Momsquirrel was trying to move the kids to a new hole. She was halfway there with one kit in her mouth when Charlie sauntered around the corner into cat heaven… he surprised Mom so that she dropped Baby and ran. It must’ve been a year when we weren’t overrun with them, cuz I decided I didn’t want to watch how this was going to play out, and put Charlie in the house. Then watched her complete the move to a hole high in the oak tree between the houses. Would love to see what that hole looks like inside.

    Catch and release: a robin, a squirrel, spiders, numerous lady and box elder bugs, and one centipede (never again).


    1. I’m all into catch and release, and have caught and released any number of crickets and ladybugs. But centipedes and spiders? No way. They’re just not welcome in my house, though judging from the amount of cobwebs, I must be coexisting with quite a few spiders. I keep telling myself, they must be living off of something that I’d also not be happy about being in my house. Then once in a blue moon, I wake up with a nasty bite – spider no doubt – that takes several days to recover from. Then it’s all out war for a couple of days until we settle back into peaceful coexistence for a while.


    2. I was surprised on Christmas to discover that I had not previously read a single one of the repeats Dale posted that day. What are the chances?

      I felt like I was snowbound in 19th century Dakota Territory and had stumbled across a box of old newspaper serials.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. While we tried several times to keep baby bunnies when I was growing up, honesty prevents me from thinking of that as a rescue.

    I like to think I did rescue the turtles of the St Kate’s pond one afternoon. A beefy guy and his son showed up with a net. it was pretty clear they were planning to grab a turtle as a free pet.

    The s&h and I did not consider this to be a situation that would end well for a turtle.

    I was not going to confront the guy, but I did want to thwart him, so i had both of us concentrate on the idea that that guy really needed the restroom.

    They did leave without a turtle shortly thereafter, so maybe we did save a life that day.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I got a call from my wife this summer saying one if the hummingbirds had flown in the house and was banging into the windows trying to get back out
    She had tried s couple things but given up and left to go drive rt he daughters so where I got home there was one ecxhsusted hummingbird sitting on yhr window frame 20 feet in the air in our living room. I had rt o grab a ladder and a towel’ set the ladder up in the living room like I was going to paint the ceiling, crawl up towel in hand reach out very slowly and gently grab the hummingbird and hold it firmly enough to be certain it wouldn’t fly out but not enough to scrunch it. Down the ladder out the door rrelease the little little guy and watch it fly up into a tree nearby to reload on energy and look at life anew.
    Who ya gonna call……hummingbird busters,….

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I vaguely remember a robin falling out of its nest when I was about 5 but don’t know if anyone rescued it. Those were the “don’t touch the baby bird or its mother will abandon it” days. I have since heard that birds (at least) don’t care much about smell and will continue to care for a baby returned to a nest.
    I love everyone else’s stories, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have released a sparrow caught between windows – first into the house (because I couldn’t get the outside window off to let the bird free – still not sure how he/she got in there, maybe through the 1″ gap at the top) and then hooshing the poor thing out the front door (…and hilarity ensued as roommate and did our best to convince the poor thing that the open front door was a better place to fly to than the picture window next to the door).

    A more recent rescue was getting a frog out of a window well. Helping a friend move, we discovered a good sized frog had fallen into a window well (we could see it through the basement window that was the window for said well). The window well was too deep for the frog to get back out of and too small for either of us to climb in. I found a gardening spade that hadn’t yet moved to the new house and tried to coax the frog onto the space – frog, of course, kept hopping away from its soon-to-be elevator. I eventually cornered it and got it onto the spade. Once on clear land, the frog hopped off with nary a thank you.


    1. Ungrateful beast. I can recall finding a couple of huge toads in our basement when I was a kid. One on top of the other. Have no memory of what happened to them, I know I was not inclined to touch them.


  12. Best friend once found 20 racoons in the bottom of a mostly empty silo. They had crawled into the silo using a long board for a ramp. The board fell down, trapping the racoons. They had lots of corn to eat, so they were sort of happy, I guess. Friend and her dad put the board back up the racoons lumbered out.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m a regular ambulance driver for the Wildlife Rehab Center in Roseville, not officially but by simply being around when some wild creature is in distress. I’ve brought in a couple of chipmunks, some baby rabbits and gray squirrels, house sparrows, a chipping sparrow, a fledgling robin, and a northern flying squirrel. I once picked up a hummingbird that had flown into a window and was briefly stunned. It recovered on its own.

    The WRC sends me reports on the outcomes, and they are usually not good. Most of the time the critter is only possible to capture because it’s badly injured. I think the chipmunks both survived, though, and at least one squirrel and a couple of the birds.

    I had a bat in the house once. I came home to find both my cats staring intently at the gap under a piece of furniture, where the bat had wedged itself, probably in an attempt to escape the cats. I can only imagine what that scene was like before the bat found refuge.

    I took the torpid bat out to the garage to give it a sheltered place to recover. The garage, since torn down, had enough rot and decay up where the roof met the walls that I figured it could find its way out. I never saw it again, so it may have been OK.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. had a friend who sat on a bat that had cuddled up in a sweater at a cabin for the weekend . my friend sat down in the kitchen chair with the sweater draped over the back the bat tht was nestled in the sweater bit him. and then again and then again and my friend wondered what the hell was going on and looked very surprised to see a bat in the sweater he grabbed the sweater and threw it out of the sliding glass door an into the woods. the doctor told him that was a terrible mistake and if there was no bat to look at rabies shots were in order. I have hear there is nothing more painful than rabies shots. my friend would confirm. sherrilee doesn’t want me to imagine what else would be in the running so I will leave it there…. but he got the rabies shots and was very disappointed that he had not been smart enough to hang onto the bat or lucky enough to find it when he drove back up to the cabin to look for it the next day when he doctor put the fear of god into him about the shots. glad linda cats didn’t have issues. the ogic with bts iguess is that if they are messed up enough to be in or midst when the shouldn’t be they could well have rabies.


  14. The bird brains at our feeders have been feasting all morning. We are in a wind chill advisory and they are bulking up. A sharp-shinned hawk swoops in occasionally to catch a slow one. I don’t know if it has been successful.


  15. OK baboons
    In this brave new world there is no phone book to look people any more
    In was able to find Ben for vs a couple weeks ago but I can’t find Linda
    Or Anna or dale
    I would like a baboon directory similar to the one we published a while back. I can send out this years Christmas card a bit late or be 360 days early in entering you in the spreadsheet for next year
    Cb Jim Edith Lisa bill Renee Donna too gith chitrader, send me info and I will get it plugged in


    1. I am like the wind and as difficult to catch…(well, okay, maybe it’s just that I “have wind”…). I will PM you with my info. I have memory that we have the start of a directory on the BBC site – though it is password protected (don’t want the hoi polloi getting our contact info).


      1. we also had a spreadsheet with phone numbers (my phone # has changed since that was made, so i hope nobody has tried to call me with the number on that list). and another with birthdays. maybe we could combine them into one spreadsheet? google drive is nice for that, but not everyone has a google account, i suppose.


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