Wednesday, June 5, 2013

He Who Notes the Sparrow's Fall

One day last month Jacob and Isaac bounded in from outside with a shriek: "We found a baby bird!!"  The day-old sparrow had fallen from its nest and it was impossible to return him.  A quick google search revealed basic baby sparrow care, and the boys fed him moistened cat food on the tip of a blunt toothpick and kept him warm while I frantically looked up "Wildlife Rehabilitation" in the phone book.  With Grandma's help, we found a baby bird rescue facility across town and rushed the bird over there.  We held our breath during the long drive, and the children said a prayer that he would live.  He did.
If you know Jacob, you know he is passionate about birds.  He has read every single book in our library on the subject, some multiple times.  He can tell you the physical description, nesting habits, flight patterns, and migration routes of any bird you can think of.  He sketches birds.  He writes about birds.  He lives and breathes birds.  And it has been a tremendously good thing for him. 
Rescuing this baby sparrow was a highlight of his life so far.  He said so himself.  In that afternoon, I watched him grow in faith, humility, self-confidence, and empathy.  I watched him treasure this little life and rejoice when it was spared.  That may sound a little overdramatic, but I assure you it was a precious and sacred experience.
In my prayers that night, I thanked Heavenly Father for putting that little sparrow in the path of my son.  "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father....  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29, 31)
{When I originally wrote this post, it was going to end here.  But then...}
A few days later, the boys came home with two new sparrows.  At least this time we knew what to do.  Another bowl of moistened cat food, and another trip to the bird rescue facility.
Three days later... bird number four showed up.  By this time we were quizzing the boys to make sure they weren't climbing trees and tipping nests over. :)  Apparently it is sparrow season.

On a Friday night, the boys returned from the nature park with yet another baby sparrow.  This one was a fledgling, a few days shy of being independent.  He spent the night in a makeshift birdcage in our garage, then made the trip across town with Dad the next morning.

I have learned a great deal from these little sparrows: the need to slow down and accommodate a child's wonder, the worth of a soul, the constant care of a Father who knows each of us personally.

 "He who notes the fall of a sparrow surely hears the pleadings of our hearts."
- President Thomas S. Monson
All has been quiet on the bird front for the last several days.  Apparently most of the local sparrows have fledged and left the nest.  This experience has been marvelous, but I must admit I was glad to stop making unexpected 2-hour trips every few days.  With sparrow season over, we've settled into a relaxed summer routine.
Until a couple days ago, when Jacob brought home a baby redwinged blackbird....


Jana said...

Now I understand your comment about having a lot of experience with this! It's funny...the scripture verses you quoted here were the exact ones that entered my mind as we discovered our four fallen baby birds. It was a huge comfort to know and be reassured that The Lord was aware of these little robins and that as we offered up a prayer for his help to know how to care for them, what was best for them, and what we should do for them that He was already watching over them and blessing us and them. It was an answer to prayers to see the mama and daddy robins return to find their babies and their nest had been restored. I felt so inadequate to care for these tiny helpless birds and Ibwas so grateful and relieved to see the parents return and take back over their ever vigilant care. As I have watched and continued to check on our baby birds, I have been amazed at the constant work and efforts it has required to care for them and meet their needs and how the mama seems to work tirelessly with the help and support of the daddy. I see the Lord's plan all laid out there as I watch them fly back and forth back and forth with food to feed the rapidly growing young ones. I think the mama has come to trust us a bit, she doesn't scold as she used to when we would get too close to her nest. It has been an adventure and a great spiritual lesson to us as well as a testimony building experience. I echo your words of the Savior and know He is aware, He is watching, He is with us and how marvelous that is!

Sandi said...

My goodness, you've had your hands full!

Laura said...

So precious! My boys have been longing to hold a baby bird lately. They even stole several eggs from my refrigerator and have been putting them in makeshift nests in order to trick a mother bird into thinking it was her nest and laying more eggs and hatching babies. Sounds logical right? Maybe to a 4 year old anyway.
What a great lesson in how much Heavenly father is aware of us and all His creatures. I don't think it was coincidence that those little birds were found by your careful boys.

Rebecca said...

I didn't know you had a bird afictionado in your home!! What a neat experience for Jacob to apply all of his knowledge to real life, and gain more. Good job on helping him keep the birds alive. He will remember that forever. Love the scriptures you cited as well. Keep up the good work!

Brett and Katherine said...

Wow, I didn't realize Jacob liked birds so much. He should come hang out at our place then, we have tons of birds. Our first summer here we kept a list of all the different breeds that came to our bird feeder. It was impressive! Great story and love the scriptures!

Kathryn Rock said...

Too cute! I would not have a clue what to do for the poor things. Great job!

Brittany Roscheck said...

Wow! That is amazing.