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On A Wing and a Prayer-Death of a Wild Bird

Empty Nests

Empty Nests

Life can change in an instant. Death can arrive just as fast and the shock jars everyone. Today was one of those moments for me and my son. This was not the death of a person but a tiny baby bird. He/she was only days old and the impact on our lives is huge.

We were stepping onto the sidewalk to enter a store when something plopped literally at my feet. It was tiny, about the size of a large grape. We stooped down to look closer and discovered it was a baby bird. It was just getting some soft fuzz that would become feathers one day.

Alas, now they would never develop or be used to kiss the sky in flight and freedom. The little thing opened its beak a few times and wriggled just a bit. We looked up and saw the nest in the metal bars that held the canopy. It tilted as it rested in a corner and a long string of plastic dangled from the bottom. It was about fifteen feet in the air.

My nine year old stayed with the baby and I went inside to see if they had a ladder. Our intent was to return the little thing to the nest and hope it would live. The ladies in the store found a small ladder and we all looked longingly upward. All of us were too short to reach the nest even with the ladder.

So we knelt by the impossibly tiny creature and watched as it died. The impact of landing on the cement had most likely damaged it terribly. I recognized the moment life left the body and thought, “Lord, why me? Why do these things always happen to me?” Instantly He answered, “Because you care and will help.”

I thanked the ladies for their time and love, then gathered the sweet baby up and placed him in the car on my jacket to await the drive home. We went inside the store and pretended to shop for a few minutes but our hearts were not in it so we came on home, leaving the mother bird sitting in that nest staring after us.

My little boy named him Fuzzy because he had just a mite of fluff and “everyone needs a name”. We buried Fuzzy at the foot of an old oak tree taken down in January's tornado and my son prayed for him. “Dear Jesus, I pray the little bird that died is having a lot of fun in Heaven now.” I hope so too.



Explaining Death To Children

Children want parents to make everything right again. Sometimes we just cannot do that. This was one of those occasions when I would have given a thousand dollars to make it all go away. As children grow up, they will be exposed to a lot of pain and suffering. As parents, we want to protect them as long as possible and when we can't, we muster up the courage to be honest. I held him as he cried and when he said, “The world sure is hard on birds” I could only agree and also tell him of the millions that survive. I did not tell him the world is hard on people also. Sadly, he will discover that on his own too.

I did tell my precious child that everyone dies but most of us live a long and happy life. Fuzzy never had that opportunity but he brought a new awareness and tenderness to our hearts. So his life was not wasted and his death was not in vain.

As I explained to my son, God’s love is stronger in us now and we will look for even more ways to help all of His creations. These include the animal kingdom and humans alike. I thank God that He uses my caring heart to help and know it is because of His love that lives in me that I obediently step into a place of pain and grace. Today a little boy was side by side with me as we served one of God’s most helpless creatures. I thank God for that fact and I thanked my son for his own compassionate heart and nature.

I thank You Father God for trusting me with the vulnerable ones You made, for the child of man and the child of the air.

Other Baby Birds Safe and Sound



Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on March 16, 2014:

I will go read your Hub. It is lovely to meet others with loving hearts. I hope I always stop and that you do too. We can not allow this harsh world to compromise our integrity. Bless you.

Karen Evans from Lancashire, England on March 16, 2014:

I managed to take 'my' injured bird home but he died when I was preparing to take him to the vet's. Strangely enough, when I read your hub, I had only just published mine about my seagull, so I felt an affinity when I read yours. At least you were one of those people who cared enough to stop and do something, so good for you.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on March 16, 2014:

Hello K L Evans. It is a painful and almost holy moment when we are witness to these events. They are truly unforgettable aren't they? Thank you for your time reading this Hub and your comment.

Karen Evans from Lancashire, England on March 15, 2014:

what a lovely and touching Hub. I had a similar experience with a seagull which also died and it is very upsetting.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on October 29, 2012:

Hello Rajan. It was such a painful moment for me and for my tender little boy. I believe we are directed by God to take care of His creations, especially the most vulnerable. Thank you for your own insight and compassion.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 28, 2012:

Very touching story. You were so kind to just do the right thing for the poor thing. Even creatures deserve a proper farewell. Beautiful.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on May 25, 2012:

Jenb0128, you are so right. They leave us vulnerable, weeping and yet happy. Things like you and I witnessed break our hearts but make us feel more connected with the natural world. I want my son to respect that too. He is so tender with animals even when other children at school make fun of him. I consider it my job to teach him love is for every creature.

Thank you so much for coming by to read about Fuzzy. I love your cockatiel. My Hyphy is a scrawny white Lutino with a big attitude. lol

Jennifer Bridges from Michigan on May 24, 2012:

It's amazing how these little animals touch us so much. I actually had a similar experience years back - I'd been watching a nest of baby robins, and one day about two weeks after they'd hatched, I went to check the nest and found it had been destroyed. I only found one baby, and s/he was dead. It was extremely upsetting of course, but it's actually what started my fascination with birds.

Thanks for sharing the story, and thanks so much for raising your son to love and respect the creatures who share the planet with us!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on May 16, 2012:

Hello skye2day. How lovely it its to see you here. This experience had divine influence all over it. It is a testimony to the "His eye is on the sparrow" song and "birds of the air" scripture. You know, I think the little guy will be with us again too. It encourages me and my little boy who was so very brave. Thank you for leaving such a wonderful and uplifting comment.

skye2day from Rocky Mountains on May 15, 2012:

hyph Oh I love this story. It is priceless. There are so many messages in your lovely words. Sister I can see you trying to reach that nest. I believe GOD wanted you to share this story of love because you do care and if He so cares of the Lillie's of the field and the birds of the air how much more does He care for us?

I think that little guy will be in Heaven when you arrive. He will be flying around all healthy and singing it girl. Thank you for sharing.

Is that so awesome God had you and your son together? The Holy Spirit is with us 24 hours and always giving us opportunities to share the love of Jesus. Great works sister. Love you.

Fuzzy love the name!!! Your son choose an awesoeme name.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 25, 2012:

Hello Victoria Lynn. I still get tears when I think about that time. It was so special between my boy, myself and God. I shall always remember it with tenderness. I appreciate your kind comments and am glad I told the story in a manner that touches people as it did us. Thank you so much.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on April 24, 2012:

What a wonderful teaching experience. Poor little bird. You told this story so poetically. It was so touching and real that I still have a lump in my throat. What a beautiful hub. Many votes! Sharing! I like your photos, too!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 22, 2012:

Hi Rosemay. That helpless feeling is awful but we sure tried. My boy is a precious and compassionate soul. I thank you for your kindness.

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on April 22, 2012:

You have a beautiful, compassionate heart Hyphen. These things happen and there is little we can do help. Your son has a good teacher and takes after you in his caring ways

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 20, 2012:

Hello lyricwriter. Moments like this one become diamonds when we allow ourselves to be polished by love. I would not change a thing except that Fuzzy were alive.

Thank you for your ever so kind comments my friend.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on April 20, 2012:

Hyp, voted up and all across but funny. This is an example of the little things that give us great meaning in life. Most people wouldn't even stop, little along help. We are all living and we should give that same respect to all living things. This is also a great example of the person you are, thoughtful, loving, and caring. Very great article Hyp. Well done indeed.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 20, 2012:

Hello lambservant. It is so wonderful how God remembers every one of His creations and is saddened when their path is interrupted. I do remember that scripture and the song. It comforts me to know He is watching me. I, and ones like Fuzzy, are never alone.

As you said, "The hairs of our head indeed. Amazing.

Thank you for your own love and faithfulness.

Lori Colbo from United States on April 19, 2012:

Beautiful story. This was a divine appointment for you and your son. I love how you told him God's love is stronger now. Amen. This little story reminded me of Matt. 10:29 where Jesus says "What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered." As much as you cared about that wee bird, God cared even more. But as you said, your love for God increased because he loved that bird through you and your son.

You have probably heard the song His Eye is on the Sparrow. The refrain says

"I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."


We need to remember this Scripture and this song when we are down, discouraged, and full of fear. When we think we are or our problems are too insignificant for God to bother with or care about. The hairs of our heads indeed. Blessings sister.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Thank you Dubuquedogtrainer. I appreciate your visit.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Becky, I am so sorry to hear that. Your daughter is hurt and confused. I have heard gerbils can do that but am still shocked. I hope she is able to love the gerbil again very soon.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Hello mckbirdbks. It sure felt like one in the moment. I am so glad we were there and that is one for the memory book. Thanks for reading about dear Fuzzy.

Dubuquedogtrainer from Dubuque, Iowa on April 19, 2012:

Very sweet! Sharing!

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on April 19, 2012:

Hyphen, very touching hub. We have also seen tragedy in the animal kingdom and Katy has a hard time with these lessons. She has a soft heart also. Her female gerbil killed the male yesterday. We don't know why, but it happened and now poor Katy is having a hard time even inter-acting with the female. She can't even touch her as her very active imagination works over-time. I am hoping this fades over time because she so loved her gerbils and letting them run all over her.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on April 19, 2012:

Hello Hyphen. You managed to teach a lesson while teaching your son about how life works. Well done. For a second, I thought tragedy!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Suzette, I think many people are so caught up in themselves, they never notice the needy, especially the tiny ones. In my own heart, the more helpless the more I yearn for them. I am glad I could be there when my little boy saw a bitter side of life and was able to help him taste the sweetness also. I am so glad you came by here to read about dear Fuzzy.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Hi kashmir56. It was a most painful and heartbreaking experience. He was so tiny, just hatched so his insides were most likely smashed from the fall. I am so glad we could give him some love before he died. Thanks for stopping by to read about our little Fuzzy.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on April 19, 2012:

Oh Hyphen, this is precious. Your son learned such a lifelong lesson in how you handled the situation. Thank you for taking care of that precious gift from God. When I was a child, my mother would have stepped over the bird and gone on with her shopping, never giving that bird another thought. I would have been going nuts in the store worried about the poor bird and its not getting a proper burial. So, God did know how you would respond and had it happen so your son could learn an important lesson. What a wonderful human being and mother you are. All God's creatures great and small! What a touching incident and story to tell here!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Hello Teylina. Your mom had a heart for the things that need extra love. God gave mankind responsibility to care for animals and some of us take it seriously. Your mother did that. It was hard to see Fuzzy's mother sitting on that nest staring at us. I wonder if she thought we hurt him. It was a tragic yet oddly beautiful moment.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on April 19, 2012:

Sorry to hear about Fuzzy but sometimes these things happen,And i think you were right to try to help but the fall may have done a lot of damage inside little Fuzzy. It is nice to hear that your son understands and cares just like you.

Vote up and more !!!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Hello Movie Master. He is a very gentle boy with a soft heart. Today at school, he told the story to another little boy in his class who said it is stupid to worry over a bird. I prefer compassionate hearts to ones made of steel at such a young age. Thanks for stopping by.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Hello Eiddwen. Indeed, my boy and I am mutually blessed. We love one another so much and recognize the spirit of God within. I thank you for coming by to support us through a difficult time.

Teylina on April 19, 2012:

Not sure if I feel sorrier for you or Fuzzy's parents. My mother had a basket on her patio (extended out to become a second floor) that some sparrows used for several years in the spring. She felt like she knew them and always watched nest-built, lessons and feeding, and when a tiny baby couldn't quite get the hang of flying and fell one day, she stood and cried as if for a person. I went down and hunted for it. It had died and she put it in a little box to bury, crying the whole time for the parents. So always exploring, I hear you. And I don't think there's much doubt anyone could teach compassion to a child as well as this. Praises, Hyphen. Lovely write and thought-provoking.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on April 19, 2012:

Poor Fuzzy, such a sad and touching story, your son sounds as loving and caring as you.

Thank you for sharing with us.

Eiddwen from Wales on April 19, 2012:

Oh sweet Brenda my dear friend with a kind heart as big as houses.

What a lucky boy,and here's to so many more gems from you .

Take care and I wish you a wonderful day.


Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Hi moonlake. I tried to give my boy an outcome that consoled but was honest. Hopefully, I succeeded. Thanks for your own compassionate heart.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

always exploring, I thought about your baby birds. The little things are so sweet and totally helpless. It was a difficult time and I am glad we were there to give Fuzzy our love. Thank you very much.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Alastar, you are such a dear friend and I thank you. As this little boy grows, I wish him to know that ugly and painful things do not have power to rule over us. The love within us is always stronger. I really appreciate your support.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 19, 2012:

Thank you Sunnie. I believe we must always take a stand and try to make a difference. Lack of that caused the Holocaust to be so successful. I just cannot look the other way. Thanks for coming by and giving your great encouragement. I do appreciate that.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 18, 2012:

Hello North Wind. My boy has has great heart for God and for the spiritual. His prayers often stop me in my tracks. He is very close to God and loves Jesus so much. Some people say he is immature for his age. I know it is because he has not been contaminated by the world to the extent most young children are. I am happy that he is not of this world but has his eyes on the restored one Christ brings to us. Thank you so much for letting me know your feelings on this. It means a lot to me.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 18, 2012:

Hello teaches12345. I also believe God does use every occasion to teach us and to bring us blessings. The world we live in is indeed sometimes painful but it is very beautiful and full of so many precious things. Fuzzy was one of those gifts. Thank you for stopping by with such wise comments.

moonlake from America on April 18, 2012:

Sad story about a baby bird. Terrible things happen to little creatures and it's hard to explain that to kids but I think you did a good job. Love your last picture. Voted Up.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 18, 2012:

I feel so bad about fuzzy, but more so for your Son and you. It would break my heart if anything would happen to my baby birds on my patio. I love your heart. I love this story. Cheers my friend..

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on April 18, 2012:

Hyph, you are one of the most compassionate unselfish people I know. This story also shows how deep the wise philosophers gift dwells within you. It's simply wonderful how you make a teaching experience for your son out so many things. You nurture the good and caring in his young soul. Bless the beasts and the children; and Brenda, bless you too my friend.

Sunnie Day on April 18, 2012:

Oh Brenda, This was so touching in so many ways...I do believe the verse that God cares for the birds of the air and I am sure he shed a tear right along with you. I have attempted to save little birds but they died as well but it was the right thing to do in trying to help them. This was so loving and precious. One more reason why we love you and your heart.


Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 18, 2012:

Hello writer20. Indeed I am glad we were there to help the little guy. While we could not save him, we gave and received love. Thank you so much for stopping by.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 18, 2012:

Oh thank you mollymeadows. I do want him to know that the joys in life far outweigh the sorrows. God gives us so many opportunities to care and we must accept every one. If we will not care for a helpless little bird, we will not care for a stronger creature. Thank you so much for your very kind comments.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 18, 2012:

Thank you aviannovice. I believe all life is sacred and we humans must be guardians to animals. Anything else is unconscionable. I do appreciate your support and encouragement. I do know my boy has a loving and caring heart. That makes me feels good for his future.

North Wind from The World (for now) on April 18, 2012:

It really is hard to see a little bird suffer, but as you said, it happened for a reason. I could not help but think Thank God when I read this because, Hyphenbird, I do not know many nine year old kids left who have a tender heart that cares about the life of a bird. Most of them have 'grown up' too fast and have their feet head first in the world and never turn back. Maybe this happened so that people could read about your son's caring and believe that there is still a remnant in this generation to come.

Dianna Mendez on April 18, 2012:

Poor fuzzy. Your experience was a great teaching moment in death and life. God uses every day happenings, some times painful as they seem, to help us understand our world. Thanks for sharing this touching story.

Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on April 18, 2012:

Very touching poem for Fuzzy, he did fall right in front you for a good reason. He helped you son understand about death.

Voted up. Joyce.

Mary Strain from The Shire on April 18, 2012:

This is beautiful, Brenda. I'm sorry that it happened but you handled this "teachable moment" so well for your son. Life will teach him about hardships, but you have taught him that they are not the last word.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 18, 2012:

Voted up and awesome. Sounds like your son will take after you. You gave this baby bird the dignity that it deserved. Thank you from one compassionate person to another.

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