To Save A Mockingbird

Life has a funny way of timing things sometimes. Like this afternoon when I was sleeping on the couch after just falling asleep for a much deserved nap, the UPS delivery guy swung open the door, slammed down a package inside my house, and yelled “UPS!” as fast and as loudly as he could. After I went and changed my underwear, I could not fall back asleep.

Sometimes the timing is more substantial and seemingly serendipitous, almost as if the universe is orchestrating the symphony of our lives as they unfold independently while remaining strangely connected.

Last week my wife woke me up and had a very concerned look on her face (most of my stories start with me being awoken because I am usually asleep.) She had just seen a baby bird that was soaked, injured, and shivering on the ground on her walk home from yoga. Naturally she was very worried that the stray cats would kill and eat it, but I assured her that it would probably die of hypothermia and starvation first.

I guess this was not very reassuring to her because I somehow ended up going out into the torrential downpour to retrieve the bird. For anyone not familiar with what a baby bird looks like picture a small, pink, wrinkled lizard sparsely covered in the same kind of hair that overflows out of really old men’s ears.  Basically I have seen cuter things floating in a gas station toilet bowl.

Regardless of how weird it appeared, my NICU training set in and I stabilized the little bird, built him a nest out of a warming blanket and warmed him under a heat lamp inside of an old aquarium. As he stopped shivering and started becoming more alert he actually opened his eyes. Apparently imprinting happens quickly, because from that point on I was mom. And because all good moms name their children, I decided his name would be Larry Bird.

For the record I have no idea if it is a boy or girl, and even if I knew how to tell a bird’s sex my initial assessment was not that thorough. I figure if he lays an egg I know he’s not a he. I am fairly confident that Larry is a mockingbird. My Brother and Sister-in-law are expecting a baby soon so I might just sell Larry to them so that he can sing to keep the baby quiet. (If Larry never learns to sing, they can always buy the baby a diamond ring.)

(If you did not follow that last joke do not fret, it was not very funny.)

I quickly went to the garden and dug up some worms for my wife to chew up and regurgitate into Larry’s beak, but apparently that was not part of her plan. Apparently my wife’s plan consisted only of telling me there was an injured bird and then taking a nap (apparently yoga can be exhausting).

As I searched the web for what to feed a bird, I found a recipe for this delicious concoction of cat food, USANA vitamins (thanks mom!), bagels, and eggs. Apparently baby birds eat every 30 minutes so once I figured out how to feed him,  I regretted it. We even had to take Larry to a wedding shower so I could feed him, and though I tried very hard my wife would not let me give him away as our shower gift.

Believe it or not this is not regurgitated…

While researching I also found out that baby birds are illegal to keep inside the home. It is amazing what guilt can drive a man to do; Suddenly I was harboring and caring for an illegal alien that actually looked like an alien.

Fast forward several days and Larry has grown significantly, sprouted new feathers, eats ten times the amount he used to, and gave me the impression that he was ready to fly away. It did not hurt the cause that our cat finally figured out a way to get onto the cage, and if I would have walked upstairs 30 seconds later, Larry would have been Who Dey poop.

Tonight I gave Larry the chance to fly away into the world and he took it. While it was emotional, I know he will be better off not being eaten by Who Dey. Here is an emotional video of when he flew away from me. (You may want to grab a tissue).

As I mentioned before this series of events was serendipitous as I searched for a Good Idea to write about since it has been a couple of months. I needed something worthwhile to write about and along came Larry (to segue into the actual topic that is worthwhile…)

My brief experience with adopting Larry the Bird has inspired me to promote an extremely worthy cause that is happening right now.  Not animal rescue, or animal rights, or saving baby birds, but adoption of a child.

My cousin David and his wife Leah have started the expensive process of adopting a child. They have already spent a lot of money trying for some time to conceive and although unsuccessful, they are still going to be the most successful, loving parents that a baby could ask for.

In my experience as a NICU nurse the most crappy part of my job is surprisingly not the large amount of crappy diapers I change on a daily basis. It is those babies we make healthy just so they can go on to belong to the state for the rest of their childhood. When I learned that David and Leah were going to adopt it made me realize that these babies are not automatically doomed to a rough, pain-filled existence and in fact could end up having exceptionally happy and rewarding lives with parents like David and Leah.

To help manage some of the large cost of adoption, they are reaching out to anyone willing to help. They are truly incredible people and instead of going on and on about them, I will refer anyone who wants to follow their story to their link:

You may not know them, but take my word that donating to their cause would be one of the best ideas you have ever had. (I should know, I’m in the Good Idea business!)

9 thoughts on “To Save A Mockingbird

Add yours

  1. John G,

    I love every part of this. My only regret is that I do not see things like ethnicity or species…I just see creatures of awesomeness and creatures I’d rather have leave this earth. (Mostly the latter, I admit.) The only exception is, of course, Kevin T. We all know about him.

    Kate G

  2. Kate G.,

    If “bird” was an ethnicity, you might be correct. For the record birds actually do eat the leftover parts of their eggs (including the shell) for calcium and protein. So it in fact is you who seem to be speciecentric (a word which should exist, but does not).

    As for Jared L. and Kevin L. throwing up in pillow cases, I would rather eat human that watch that video again.

    John G

  3. John G,

    I appreciate that you’re not creating blood-hungry beasts in Ohio, as let’s be honest…Ohio is for lovers. I trust your paternal instincts and although I would probably have chosen to feed my baby bird a PowerBar or Fruit Roll-Up, I see your point.

    Although humans typically don’t eat each other’s vomit, they do sometimes vomit in each other’s pillow cases. (See Jared L. & Kevin L. on YouTube.) Obviously, it’s way less weird that humans feed their young through latching onto their mother’s lactating parts. Perhaps you are a bit ethnocentric, my friend.

    Please ponder all these things.

    Kate G

  4. Kate G,

    While I certainly understand where you are coming from with the eggs and cannibalism angle, I must also point out that we as humans are turned off to the idea of cannibalism for the same reasons we are turned off by the thought of eating someone else’s vomit for sustenance (which birds also do on the regular).

    Plus I needed to give him protein, and it was either egg or meat, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to release a bird back into the wild with a taste for blood…

    John G

    PS Good Idea John G, LLC does not promote cannibalism, however we do promote the book “Alive” for some interesting moral discussion.

  5. I am shocked that no one was commented on the seemingly shocking reality that you fed a baby bird EGGS. Am I the only one who recognizes the irony that you saved the life of one baby bird by feeding it a less-lucky brethren? Let’s be more critical thinkers, my friends.

    PS-Thanks for giving me yet another reason to love J&J G. You’re entirely fabulous human beings, minus the whole cannibalism part.
    PPS-Can’t WAIT to see you soon! Your trip to Chicago must be one of the best good ideas you’ve ever had. Keep them coming!

  6. David,

    What I failed to mention in my blog was that this happened however long ago it would take for me to be protected by the statute of limitations.
    I am glad to promote your great cause and hope it brings you some donations!
    John G

  7. John,

    Thanks a million for supporting our efforts! even if it was amidst admitting to a crime and posting your guilt on the internet for everyone to see! -D

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