Tuesday, May 12, 2009

DEATH IN THE "MATERNITY WARD"

As I mentiond earlier, I was going to "paw" in the garden for a while this morning -- a normal spring time thing to do.

One of the first things I discovered outside was a dead Robin, close to our 24 hour self-serve food and water bird restaurant. I checked it out -- I was pretty sure it was Mrs. Robin. There were no signs that it had hit our building; there were no signs that it had been attacked by a cat or something like that. I set her beside the little St. Francis statue in our yard, only a foot or so from where I found her. I went and checked the nest. There was nobody on it -- but inside there were three beautiful little eggs -- all "Robin's egg blue." I estimate they are about a week from hatching, given the past activities of the mother.

I talked to several people people at our University's Veterinary College (where they do quite bit of work with birds). We decided that I should bring Mrs. Robin in for an autopsy, to make sure that it wasn't some bird disease that had killed her. We don't want any more strange infections floating around. I'll eventually get a report on her death. As for the eggs, there was nothing they could do.

We had some other things to do, but came back in the late afternoon. We checked in the back yard, and there was another Robin - sitting on the fence, looking up at the nest. It finally flew up to the nest. It didn't get on the nest -- it just stood there --looking at the eggs and looking around, and around, and then back at the eggs. I was pretty sure it was Mr. Robin. I had to do something on the other side of the yard, and when I got to the far end, he rose up as if to challenge me, thought he never said a thing, and I don't go over. Eventually he left.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the garden, the Nuthatches are carrying on, as usual, apparently unaware of the tragedy at the other end of the Maternity Ward.

P.S.: I just got a brief phone report from the pathology lab. There are signs of an infection in her, but it not the kind of thing which should have killed her. There were a few extra questions for me about the circumstances under which I found her. I'll get a fuller report when the pathologists are finished doing their work.

While I was on the phone, Mr. Robin came back and checked everything again very thoroughly, before leaving again.

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I wonder how birds mourn and grieve.


6 comments:

Natalie said...

Oh so,sad.Poor little family. :(

lakeviewer said...

Yes, how do animals grieve? Somebody must know out there. Our caring for our young and inferm seems to be unique.

Rob-bear said...

Natalie: Thanks so much for your kindness. It's been a pretty sad day around our house, for humans and birds alike.

Lakeviewer: I'm not sure if anyone knows anything about animals and grief. I'll do some web searching in due course. I do know that animals are normally protective of their young, and miss/search for their young if they disappear (die, are removed, etc.).

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Aw so very sad. Cold shivers down my spine. x

Maternal Tales said...

Oh no - that's so sad...the poor lttle Robin family and poor Mr Robin...it sounds just like the death of the Mummy clown fish in Finding Nemo - something which I alsways get teary-eyed at watching. :-((

cheshire wife said...

It is so sad when a young mother dies whether it is a bird or a human.

Thank you for your recent comments on my blog.