On the one night a week that my youngest daughter has dance class downtown, my eldest daughter and I usually dine out at one of the local eateries in our small town.
After which, we drop into the Chinese buffet joint across the street from the dance studio to pick up some beef broccoli and fried rice for the littlest dancer in our family (yes, my girls actually love - L-O-V-E, broccoli, weird kids, I know).
Last week as we were exiting the house of Asian cuisine, I noticed a baby sparrow sitting on the sidewalk, obviously a victim of a "nest falling" from somewhere up high. C noticed it as well and immediately went into her 7-year old girl/motherly instinct mode, setting up a security perimeter around the solitary chickadee, fully prepared to scat any alley cats looking for an easy avian appetizer.
My eagle-eyed first grader then proceeded to spot the nest from which the baby bird had fallen (way up under the ballooning awning over the real estate office next door), as well as the ledge below the nest, where another member of the sparrow condominium had taken up residence after apparently succumbing to the same unnesting syndrome as it's sibling on the ground.
My not-so eagle-eye's however, spotted the more unfortunate member of the little nest family in the entryway of the abstract business the next door down. It looked to have been stepped on by an unsuspecting sidewalker.
Not a pretty sight.
While trying my best to distract C away from the newly discovered corpse, I overheard her telling a passerby the same thing I had told her minutes before..."...don't touch the baby bird because if you do, it's mama won't want it anymore cuz it will smell like people."
The woman kindly heeded the old wives tale advice and seriously pondered the plight of the baby birds with all the seriousness of a Law and Order detective. She outlined her plan of action to C and I, even though I was ready to let nature take it's course and was callously concerned with delivering the Chinese take-out to my post-dance class young'un. C, however, nodded along and loudly proclaimed her whole hearted support for the woman's plan.
Enlisting my help, C proceeded to fulfill her designated duty as we pulled over the wooden bench from in front of the realty office to just below the ledge where the other fallen nest mate resided.
Calmly, the woman pulled out a handkerchief, picked up the earthbound hatchling and placed it ever so gently on the ledge, next to it's sibling.
At this point, C shouted gleefully out that she had spotted yet another fugitive from the sparrow nest, which had found it's way under the wooden bench we had just moved.
A few moments later, that one joined the others on the ledge and we all celebrated with smiles and handshakes.
Parting words were brief for the rescuers. I mentioned something about my daughter's broccoli getting cold while the woman with the plan stated that if her husband ever found out she just saved two of what he calls "nuisance" birds, he'd be livid.
C just couldn't wait to get home to tell Mommy about it.