Well, what do you know? I’m not a monkey’s uncle, but i am a magpie’s aunty.
There i was gardening, and a magpie alit and began haranguing I ignored the noise, figuring it was commentary upon our lordly grey cat, sunning his royalness there on the deck. Slowly, though, i realised the bird was serious about something. Could it be?
Feeling like i might be dreaming somewhere between Lassie and Hitchcock’s birds, i followed the screaming magpie half round the block. Felt mildly foolish until i came upon the kid. Nothing looks more naturally pathetic than a half-fledged magpie, which appears to be at least 50% beak. I’ve named him Timmy, and s/he was not down the well, but stranded on the front porch of house behind ours, facing the big traffic on 97th street and plumb tuckered out.
While several adults screamed in agitation or encouragement (couldn’t be sure), i caught the gangling wee gargoyle and, with a squawky magteen cupped in my hands, traipsed back round the block. The adults were quite quiet as i jimmied the back gate (grateful i knew the trick to that) and deposited Timmy below the family tree, then fetched some water and bread crusts.
I knew where he lived – in the backyard of the porch where he’d pooped out. Knew one of the fellows who live there is named Jeremy, the other starts with a D.
The thing is, the day before, my fellow and the fellows across the alley rescued Timmy for the first time. S/he had fallen into the driveway behind J and D’s place. They had a grand manly time figuring out how to get the fledgling into the right tree and safe. My fellow gazed all evening at the teenage-talon marks on his arm, with a look of pure wonderment.
I know what he felt.
Apparently, the adults have decided we’re all on call to fetch young Timmy from flying fails.
How little most of creation requires by way of evidence on which to trust. How perilous for them. As for me, i listen to the magpies more carefully now. I have seen them at their wedding dance, outside my window some springs ago. And now, they’ve offered me the honour of helping with their kids.
What a gift.
All My Relations,