Tuesday, October 15, 2013

39. Chicken Nuggets

I've worked in a nature center.  I'm Leave No Trace certified.  Conceivably, I know all the rules when it comes to the proper maintenance of animals and their wilderness areas.  

But I've found that, ever since moving to Africa, all of these "rules" just don't apply.  

Meet our (accidental) newest pet!

When do you do when your neighbor brings home a bird's nest stuffed with fledglings and says, "Hey!  Look what I found on the mountain!"  And what do you do when that same neighbor then tells you that he's going to fry up the baby birds and make them for his lunch?

I just couldn't let him do it.  I just... couldn't.  

But what is the proper standard of behavior?  What are the proper steps to follow in order to minimize your impact on these birds?  

Ha.  Like I said, the rules just don't apply.  

I kindly asked Romao if I could have the birds, and then I put them in a box.  He was sorry to see that I was taking his lunch, but I was swift to deal a scolding.  

"It's not fair," I said.  "You can't hunt something that doesn't run away.  You didn't even give these birds a chance!"

And thus, without meaning to or wanting to or trying to at all, I found myself caring for three baby birds in a brown cardboard box.  I'm not yet sure what I'm going to do with them, but I know for certain that I'm not going to eat them.  

Dan and I have been calling them the chicken nuggets, in honor of the fate that they so narrowly escaped.  

Dan bottle feeds one of the baby birds (egg yolk with water and crumbled dog kibble)
The birds cry for food and hop around their box-house
This bird is barely old enough to perch
The neighborhood boys work on their "loving nature" skills
I taught this little boy how to hold a baby bird without squishing it.
And in my opinion, that was better than teaching him how to throw rocks at it.

I think what we're going to do is care for them until they're a little older, and then give them away as pets.  We've actually heard of a family out in the campo that raises songbirds in a cage.

Or maybe they'll just fly away on their own.

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