Today I had the opportunity to save a life.
While doing laundry this morning, I noticed a fledgling blue jay on our front porch. I had never seen a baby blue jay before, so my first instinct was to bask in it’s cuteness.
As I kept washing, my mom also saw the blue jay and made a comment about all the outdoor cats we have in the neighborhood. We ourselves own two cats, but they never go outside and weren’t a threat. The others, though, were likely to make this little creature their next meal.
I decided to grab a pillow case to toss over the little creature (gave me quite a chase for something that couldn’t fly properly), and gently but firmly held it in my hand. I was surprised that no parent blue jay attempted to five bomb me. This little guy was screeching for a while, but no one came to the rescue. Perhaps it had been abandoned? After a few minutes, though, it relaxed and rested quietly in my hand.
The Second Chance Wildlife Center in Gaithersburg, MD is an amazing place that nurtures and rehabilitates wild animals that have been abandoned, injured, or found ill.
Mom drove while I held the little jay and we were soon at the door of the Center, which doesn’t look much more than a normal house on a lot of land. The last time I had come was in 2011 with a baby starling that had been found in the old music building at Washington Adventist University before it was torn down. I was given a tour of the place and saw where they kept the birds, bunnies, raccoons, and all sorts of other things while they regained their strength to be released back into the wild, if possible. Some, sadly, do not make it but most do. It seems to be very rewarding work and perhaps someday I’ll get a chance to volunteer.
This time we weren’t allowed to tour, but the young man at the desk was very nice and gentle with our little jay. There was also a woman making a documentary about the affect of house cats on birds who asked if I wanted to be filmed for her work. She filmed me giving the jay to the keeper and was going to ask me questions when a woman came in carrying a box with a full grown yellow-billed cuckoo that her daughter’s cat had nabbed the night before.
The poor creature looked so pitiful in that box, both of its legs broken. I hope it makes it.
It’s a lesson we all need to learn – if you have cats, please keep them inside. Many endemic species of birds, rodents, and other small animals suffer greatly from house cats hunting them. If your cat must go outside, have them wear a collar with a bell to reduce their stealthiness. Let’s do our part to help our local wildlife and keep our pets indoors.
Our little jay is in good hands now, and the Center will contact us when it (or the brood it’s placed with) gets released. It’s nice to know that we made a difference in a life, even if it was a very small one. 🙂
NOTE: Please don’t attempt to handle wildlife unless you have knowledge and experience. If a particularly large or dangerous animal like a fox or deer, call the authorities.
– Wandering Minstrelette