Tuesday, July 9, 2013
It seemed that my budding friendship with Fran and Mil was meant to be. For when Jeff brought them out to the farm on Sunday morning, they brought the bluebirds, and someone else with them. Someone named Hobo. Hobo's tongue hangs out, but I didn't ask about that, because I figure after eleven years they've long since tired of explaining why. He was a perfectly charming little gent. Mil says he brings Hobo everywhere except "where they sell food."
Hobo is eleven, and he was not at all sure he wanted to consort, canoodle or cavort with the bouncy and insistent Chet Baker, so in Mil's arms he stayed.
Hobo, I just want to smell you all over. Please put your dog down so I can smell him all over, and then show him who is boss. (That's Jeff in the background, smiling at the Tiggerish ridiculousness that is Chet).
Mil and Fran had brought Hobo along because they said he would want to kiss his baby bluebirds goodbye.
Which he did. Licked them. No sweeter Boston walks the earth. He made Chet look like some kind of hoodlum. Which he is. Chet's fine with baby birds; he wouldn't hurt them, but as this was going on he was whining and pawing at the outside of the tent, just wanting to get in there and bowl poor little Hobo over. Which wasn't going to happen.
One bluebird sat on Hobo's back for awhile. It was sweet to see. Well, these baby bluebirds would grow up thinking that there are Boston terriers everywhere, I guess.
Chet Baker, who looks like a fullback compared to the more gracile Hobo, ingratiated himself with Fran by leaping up and French-kissing her. She said he reminds her of their first Boston, who was more boisterous than Hobo. Good word, that. Boisterous.
Meanwhile, the baby bluebirds were settling in nicely, investigating their little wading pool, flying circles around the tent, and trying out all the new perches. They're about 25 days old in this photo, still several days from being able to try to pick up their own food. If I remember correctly that happens around Day 28. And then it takes another week or more until they're good at it. I'll continue to hand feed them until they're feeding themselves completely.
I was delighted to find all three are females. This may help give them a smoother release. I raised two orphaned bluebirds in Connecticut years ago. Cobalt was the male, Sapphire the female. Upon releasing them, the resident male bluebird in my yard came and beat the daylights out of Cobalt, driving him from the property. He left Sapphire alone, and she stayed on to be subsidized by my mealworm handouts. I do not think this selective aggression was a coincidence. So I hope that maybe, just maybe, our resident male bluebird will tolerate these three little girls upon their release. I have my fingers crossed. And I'm not going to release them until they're dead ready to be on their own, picking up all their own food.
It's not perfect, but nothing in avian rehab is really perfect. You do what you must, what you can, and hope for the best. Even from a marsh in Maine. Even when you have a resident pair of bluebirds in your yard who may make life difficult for your orphans. We'll just have to see what happens.
And outside, Chet Baker was still staring longingly up at Hobo, with a big I-want-that-doggeh-so-badly spitbubble in the corner of his flews. That's my boy.
I cannot believe you photographed me with a spitbubble. Someday I will do the same to you.