Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Specky the Sparrow

It is important to sometimes stop and take a break from the rush and noise of the world around us. There is no better place than the green space that surrounds us - nature - with all its beautiful little creatures that live within it and depend upon it for their existence. We also depend on our natural environment for survival - it sustains mankind and the animals within with a source of oxygen, food, shelter and sense of well-being - we cannot survive without it. Once in a while, nature may intervene and surprise us with little miracles - a little 'tap' upon the shoulder to remind us that we are not alone and that we must be responsible and take care of our precious environment and all its wee critters. Such was the case in this charming story, written by my father-in-law, about a very special friendship. We hope you enjoy it and thank you for viewing our website!

A very delightful experience happened to my wife and I many years ago while we were out for an evening stroll through a lovely old farm site. It was twilight and as we were leaving the farm, I felt something land on the back of my neck, I reached back with my hand and felt little claws. I thought it was a bat and brushed it off and it fell to the ground. I looked down and peering up at me was a beautiful little baby sparrow. I gently picked it up and both my wife and I observed the little fellow. It appeared he had fallen out of his nest and barely had any feathers, except for a few on his wings, he also had a slightly deformed leg.

I walked over to the closest tree and placed him on one of the lower branches. We waited a few minutes to see if there was any sign of the mother, then we turned to walk away. We continued walking and had just reached the end of the road when the little bird landed, once again, onto the back of my neck, determinedly hanging on. My wife, Joy, reached over and cupped the little creature in her hands. The sparrow seemed happy to come with us and when we arrived home we brought it into the house. I had no idea of what it ate, so I went outside to our yard and dug up a couple of worms which it gobbled up in short order. He then fell asleep in a small box filled with cotton baton which Joy had prepared. The following day, Joy placed a slice of her home made whole wheat bread on the patio table, next to the little fellow. We decided to call him Specky. Specky loved the bread, he stood on it and pecked away with great gusto. Later on, when he grew larger, he would cling to the edge of the bread and peck so hard he would bounce around the table, riding on the bread and sometimes falling over the edge - it was great entertainment for us! Some time later, Joy made a comfortable bed for Specky up high on the porch under a rafter, but he had other ideas and preferred to sleep on a hard beam under the patio roof.

Specky became part of the family and also a great friend to our Labrador Max. The bird adored the dog and would ride around on his back. At times when Max was asleep, Specky would climb up on his back and slide down his side, Max never tired of it. Specky much preferred to live outside. During the mornings when we were out in the garden, he would fly over and settle on our shoulder, anticipating his slice of bread.

Specky and Max

Our home was surrounded by large old fir trees, some as high as eighty feet tall (25 m) - he would fly up to the high branches, obviously never bothered by heights, it was sometimes difficult to spot the tiny creature perched on the top branches. It would take a clap of our hands and he would fly down and settle back on our shoulder. At times Specky would come with us to our summer cottage but always came to us when called.

Resting on Richard's Arm

We noticed over the months he became more and more independent and towards the fall, on the odd day, would sometimes not show up. Eventually, we never saw him again. Our family hoped for his safety.

Specky feeding from Laura's Hand

It was interesting that we had swallows visit our property every year and they would always occupy the same birdhouse. A year after Specky disappeared, two sparrows arrived in early Spring and occupied their birdhouse. When the swallows appeared, the sparrows convinced them to go elsewhere. When the young ones arrived, one of them sure looked like Specky.


aka Penelope said...

Oh, I so enjoyed your heartwarming story about Specky and how your kind family and gentle Lab nurtured the little sparrow. I hope it was Specky that came back to nest in the birdhouse. :)

Sheila said...

I certainly enjoyed this story. It was wonderful to read about the friendship between the bird and the family dog. I hope that you will consider writing and publishing this as a children's book. It would teach good lessons to young readers.

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