How Clarice Starling Came to Live at My Condo

First of all, let me preface this post by telling you that I do not like birds.  I don't like them.  I mean, I like to sit on one side of glass and watch them at a bird feeder on the other side of glass.  And I like to see the robins come out in the spring. I get excited when a hawk flies overhead.

However, I would never get one as a pet.  I would never intentionally touch one or allow it to land on me.

I used to work at an office where the manager had two birds who often accompanied her to work.  And I'm sure that she would be amazed to learn how many of us felt they were horrifying. Because she was a bird person.  And she thought it was adorable when they would suddenly fly at one of us.  And she probably kissed them on their beaks.

I was allowed to work from home so that is mostly what I did.  The other guy who had to work there in the office full time ended up instinctively covering his head every time he detected movement from the corner of his eye.  He may never fully recover.

Yesterday, I fully intended to leave work at 4pm as I do every Wednesday, grab my kids at the bus stop, run errands, and head home.  But I had one more form to fill out.  And I didn't want it to be late.  So I picked up my kids and went back to the office - just to quickly finish up that form.

When I saw the baby bird in the parking lot, still and pink and on it's back, I put my hand out to stop Pip from stepping on it. He wanted to know why I had stopped him and I pointed out the bird.  He pointed it out to his sister.  They both needed closer looks.

And then it moved.

"MAMA!  It's alive!!! MAMA!  DO SOMETHING"

Oh, man, you guys.  It all happened so fast.

There is a dog-eared green business card sitting by my computer at work.  It has been there for months.  It says "Find an injured bird?  Give us a call!"  It was given to us by a client and I kept it - just in case.

I knew I had that card and that was why I was so quick to get the bird into a box and take it inside.  You know, so I could pass it off to someone who likes birds and wants to take care of them.

Except...guess what?  There is no one in the area who takes baby starlings.

It's a starling.

Though now I guess there IS someone in the area who takes baby starlings because she was idiot enough to put one in a box and take it home.

It was amazing how quickly the conversation with the lady on the phone turned from "What kind of bird?"  to "You can feed it wet cat food."  Really before I could even get settled into my rolly chair I had somehow adopted a wild bird.

Me: (a little stunned) Wet cat food?

Her: (cheerfully) Yes!  You can use tweezers!

We went to Walgreens and I handed Bunny my phone and asked her to google what to feed baby starlings to get more specific info on the type of cat food to choose.

Here's a funny thing about Bunny, though. She loves to read out loud.  And she loves to give out information.  So she will never scan a webpage or a flyer from school or a permission slip or whatever and just give me the details I need to make an informed decision.  She reads every word on the page.

So Bunny followed me around the store reading an entire dense webpage about insectivores and protein to fat ratios.  She told me the difference in the eating habits between the starling and the house sparrow.

I would say, "Bunny!  Tell me what to feed her!"

And she would say, "UGH!  I AM!!"  (Have I mentioned Bunny is officially a pre-teen).

Pip, on the other hand, was hungry and kept putting random things in my basket in case I was so distracted by learning about the migration patterns of the red-breasted titmouse that I wouldn't notice he had filled my basket with Pringles and drinking straws.

There was one thing on the page that bunny didn't read. It was right in the middle of the a box...under the heading BABY STARLING FORMULA RECIPE.  She did not read that.

So I bought two cans of fancy feast and some tweezers and some gatoraide and some granola bars and a minecraft figurine.  All the things you need to successfully parent a baby bird.

And then, later in the night when things were calm, I pulled the website back up and read that I should be feeding the bird wet cat food (as in dry kibble that has been soaked in water) and not wet cat food (as in fish meal in a can).


You can make a baby bird formula with cat food and applesauce and vitamins if your daughter will read you the ONE item on the web page that contains information pertinent to your situation.

It is 3:18 am and I am typing this blog as I try to imagine how I will care for a baby who needs to eat every 20 minutes and also work at an office all day.

Did you know that baby starlings eat every 20 minutes?

Yep.  They sure do.  I have newfound respect for mama starlings.

The only thing I can think of is that I will keep the box and its requisite heating pad in the storeroom and run back there every 20 minutes.  That won't start looking weird, will it?  No one will notice, right?

After work, we'll go get the correct formula ingredients. And I will be calling the woman back because she said she might know someone who can take the bird but she wasn't sure what the phone number was right at that moment....

I can't keep taking care of this bird, y'all.

But I feel really invested in her outcome.

Oh, Clarice.

Her original name was Abby. Named so because she is our first baby bird.  The next baby bird will have a "B" name, see?


It was Bunny's idea.

Pip said that the next time we find a baby bird, HE wants to name it.

Bunny said, "OK.  You can name it Bailey."

Pip thought about it for a moment and decided that seemed fair.

Later in the evening, however, Bunny's dad said that we should have named her Clarice.

Get it?

So, here's an adventure for us.  This should be interesting.  Please contact me if you have a desire to adopt Clarice.  I really don't think I can bring her to work indefinitely. Not 100% sure how I'll pull it off today.  I have already nixed the "I'll just get up every 20 minutes all night long and she can sleep during the day" idea and the "I'll keep her in my bra for warmth and drop cat food into my cleavage every half hour" idea.  Well...I've MOSTLY abandoned that second one.

Stay tuned.

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