A Bird in the Hand

Last week as I was heading out our driveway I enjoyed watching a deer across the street. Not in the least bit afraid of foot or vehicle traffic, it continued meandering on its merry way.

During our son’s recent visit, he had the opportunity for an even closer encounter with wildlife:

Bogus Basin is a mountainous area near Boise, Idaho particularly enjoyed for its recreational snow offerings, so in June it’s almost deserted. The heat that week — even at 5,000 feet — was triple-digit intense. During our hike we found a small bird exhausted from trying to flap its way out of a skylight in a shuttle stop. He didn’t realize it was plexiglass, and was too disoriented to simply come down out of the rafters and fly away. That’s when our son got involved…

Climbing up inside the shuttle stop, he gently got the bird in his hand and climbed back down. Staying in the shade, our son used Willa’s water bowl to bathe the little fellow with cool water and give him a drink.


We didn’t think it was ever going to leave him. Once it started singing — and we knew he was going to be okay — our son placed the little fellow on a low-hanging branch and from there we watched him take off. A very cool experience for all of us.


What was your last up-close-and-personal experience with nature?

© lauriebuchanan.com

78 thoughts on “A Bird in the Hand

  1. What a lovely close encounter Laurie. Makes my heart sing 🙂
    There are a number of bambis around here this year … as well as a brazen male who has a liking for our hostas. The next encounter will be with smelly “deer off” 😉

  2. I agree with Val above, your lovely post made my heart sing as well. We have lots of deer around here, too. Several months ago, I can’t remember exactly when this was, I saw a baby deer grazing on the lawn across the street. I had gone outside to get the paper, and it was early in the morning, not quite light out yet. I discovered that baby deers make a sort of bleating sound. This one seemed to suddenly realize his or her mom wasn’t nearby anymore and started calling for her–then went down the street making that sound. It was so touching and adorable.

  3. We just went up Mt Fyffe, made a snowman, threw snowballs at each other, then came home to our white sparrow waiting on the deck railing to be fed.

    Just about to take the doggesses out for their evening walk.

    Nature is all around us every day, about as up close an personal as it gets.

      • Thanks Laurie, and thanks for the card Ailsa gave me from you and Len & Willa.

        We took Huia up into the snow yesterday, and she was so hilarious trying to catch snowballs. The look of disbelief when they exploded into nothingness in her mouth. The sheer puppy delight in her bounding around and digging huge holes in the white stuff. (We weren’t so happy with her digging holes in the snow-woman, and she eventually got the idea that wasn’t such a good thing to do).

        A good day was had – and your smiling faces are looking at me from the coffee table beside me as I write this.


      • Ted — It sounds like you’ve had a complete and total blast on the days surrounding your birthday. We sent the card waaaaaaaaay early considering you live on the other side of the globe and didn’t know how long it would take 🙂

  4. Beautiful story and photos. Your son is definitely YOUR son with a bountiful soul. Yesterday I walked out my front door at 6 in the morning and watched six HUGE wild turkeys strutting on the front lawn and tasting the bird seed underneath our nearby bird feeder. They weren’t in the least shocked to see me, but I can’t say the same…

    • Roughwighting — How doggon COOL is that?! In my entire life I’ve only seen two wild turkeys, and those sightings were on separate occasions. You were definitely fortunate to see six (huge ones, at that) at a time! 🙂

  5. I was sitting in the car while my guy went into a house he wanted to purchase. I had the windows down and suddenly there were 6 or 7 hummingbirds enjoying the Croccosmia in the garden. I watched for nearly an hour. Then they were gone. One little bird took a short cut through the open windows to join the group on its way. Surprised Zip and me!

  6. Oh, I have these encounters on a daily basis in my yard, where the birds are plentiful, squirrels outrun Shasta, jackrabbits dally in the scrub, quails march across the lawn, herding their young, and occasionally a deer appears. It’s not unusual to have a hummingbird hover within inches of your face while sitting on the front deck.

  7. How lovely. I enjoyed seeing pictures of your son and reading this sweet story. I have been having up-close and personal fun with a chipmunk this summer. It’s even possible to feed him out of hand, but prefer to put the seed down in front of him (in case of bites, since it is a wild animal after all.) However, yesterday he decided to check for seeds between my toes. I startled, he ran, and he hasn’t been back! 🙂

  8. Laurie, I love this story about Eoghan and the Bird. What a quiet spirit he must possess to calm and revive the little creature, how wise to offer comfort in cooling water and even greater wisdom to place it on a branch so that it might recover at it’s own pace, in it’s own space. Most of all I love the photos, they are beautiful and priceless! My lasted effort at dealing with wildlife came when I had to cut a black snake free of the blueberry netting it had become entangled in. There will be no more netting used on my watch!

    • Sandi — I’ll pass your high compliment (quiet spirit and wisdom) along to Eoghan.

      You’re a much(!) braver soul than me to be able to get close enough to a snake to set it free. I admire that quality in you! I’d love to be able to do that, but I’m pretty sure the fear factor would block me.

  9. What a wonderful story! Bless Evan for his kindness! I interact with nature each and every day if I can.. it is what inspires me most in life! Loved this story! Pam

  10. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it, Laurie.
    On this small, remote island encounters with wildlife are endless. In fact, that is one reason I stay. So choosing just one encounter is difficult. Inspired by your son’s gentle care, I could tell you about the two birds I encountered on my walk this morning. They rested so peacefully mere feet away that I thought something was wrong. But, nope, they were just saying good morning. Or I could tell you about the buck with a sizable rack who likes to hide away from the sun under our deck. Yes, I think I’ll tell you about him. : )

  11. Beautiful story. No deer around here in Toronto, but they parade by my ex-husband’s place in British Columbia. Here we get those pesky squirrels (although their antics are sometimes funny) and those dirty raccoons. I won’t say any more about the latter except I think they need to move to the ravine a few blocks from me.

    But I love the birds and the flowers in my garden. My last encounter with nature was collecting fresh flowers by streetlight and backyard light around midnight last night because rain was forecast for early morning today. Yes, it did rain some.

  12. I loved this story. In addition to being a handsome hunk, your son is intuitive, sensitive, and compassionate.

    I’ve enjoyed many encounters with nature this summer (Wahchella Falls, Bridal Veil Lake, our own deck in the morning and evening. But the closest encounter of all was in West Virginia. My daughter and son-in-law were with us. We drove up to Reddish Knob at the top of one of the Allegheny mountains near us. We took a picnic lunch and looked for a bathroom. The area was too rural. So, the men took off for the woods. I grabbed the green table cloth and held it up to give Kate privacy while the cars drove past the little park. She did the same for me. We felt quite close to nature — and to each other. 🙂

  13. 2 days ago, I heard a bird screaming, panic like, I opened the garage door and it had gotten into the garage through the open door to outside but couldn’t get out….I am not sure what kind of bird it was but it was bigger than a robin red breast and all brown….I opened the garage doors, he looked over at me and screamed a couple times directed to ward me and flew off…made me feel like some how he knew I helped…good feeling….also every time I water outside the humming birds come and fly through the water, I always water on a mist/light spray…they aren’t scared at all…kind of nice to help them out…and last but not least…we have a little lizard that lives out by the driveway around our boulders….every time I water out front, he darts out so I can see him, sits very still and lets me shower him with water….he stays in the water for about 5 minutes, when he’s had enough. He darts away….love it…so happy you son was able to come to aide of a bird friend…I am sure it appreciated it a lot…

    • New Journey — I love the nature stories you shared here. I so appreciate that you assist your animal friends in both large (garage rescue) and smaller (provide refreshing mist) ways 🙂

  14. What a great adventure with your son Laurie! In answer to your question it was a tree frog in my watering can this morning. I thought I saw something as I poured the water in but then nothing. Peering around the edge inside after emptying the contains onto the tomatoes, I finally spotted him. I attempted to dump him out but he was like a monkey grabbing onto the opening before finally letting go and hopping off into the garden. Made me laugh so hard at his tentativeness to venture off into the unknown beyond the watering can. I could relate completely this morning!

  15. LOVE LOVE this and the photos Laurie. Any human blessed with a special kind soul are those gifted with the friendship of wildlife…even briefly. I know a man like that. Once an owl allowed him to pet it, and he has been befriended by deer. He is especially connected to birds and has a sanctuary in California. He is called The Bird Whisperer http://www.thebirdwhisperer.org/ and also a wonderful artist… http://michaelcox.com/

    As for me the best I got was a surprise visit by a hummingbird. One day as I stood on my front porch, several years ago, I was relaxed and enjoying the September evening. Suddenly I sensed something to my right, about eye level. It was fluttering and I didn’t want to frighten it, so very slowly and slightly turned my head just enough so I could see, and there was a hummingbird fluttering no more than 2 feet from my face. It was so awesome.

  16. What a heart warming story. Your son is so wise … knowing how to respond. The bird clearly knew he/she found a life saving friend.
    This morning my encounter with nature was simply as an observer. I heard something and looked out my home office window. I saw this tiny bunny hopping as fast as I’ve ever seen one, then quickly going underneath the shed. The mother rabbit was sitting out in open. I could only think it was to draw attention to herself. Every day there must be a thousand or more such unseen dramas unfolding without our notice.
    And then (and this is outside the parameters of nature perhaps) this morning to view the pictures sent from NASA of Pluto so clear … what a wonder.

    • Audrey — I’m in agreement that mama bunny was putting her own life on the line, drawing attention to herself so that her baby could make it to safety.

      I’m going to check out those NASA photographs of Pluto. Thank you for bringing it to my attention 🙂

      • Laurie I forgot to mention that this year is the year of the Monarch Butterfly at risk. Two things (if I might) … if everyone in North America on the Canada to Mexico migration path could consider planting milkweed plants it would be so helpful to them. A free movie will be shown “The Flight of the Monarch” in many places in the country (ck US Fish & Wildlife website) the weekend of August 21-23. Hope it’s okay to share here.

  17. What a wonderful story, Laurie. Your son was so patient and attentive to the little thing and I’m touched by that. I think when we are really tuned in and observant we can witness so many little extraordinary moments. This past weekend we watched as a small hawk got disoriented under one of our patio umbrellas. I wasn’t about to intervene, but we keep an umbrella over one of the bird feeding stations and the hawk thought he was going to get some dinner, and apparently got a disoriented under the umbrella. Because we are in a suburban neighborhood I am just fascinated with these “encounters,” reminding me that urban wildlife is everywhere, we just need to keep our eyes open. 🙂

    • Debra — Oh how interesting about the small hawk getting disoriented under the umbrella! I agree that if we just keep our eyes open (attentive, alert, observant), we’d enjoy so many more visual feasts! 🙂

  18. I have mentioned my Dad on many occasions Laurie and this post bought him to mind . My dad was not perfect , he could be stern and moody at times . I think men were like that years ago , they didn’t want anyone to see the gentle side to their nature. I was fortunate to see that side of my dad who deep down was the kindest man I know .
    He used to pick me up to see the tiny Bluetits in nests and gave names to spiders in his shed . He gave me a great love of all creatures of which I am eternally grateful .
    You have a very kind son I am sure you are proud of him . Those pictures are lovely .

  19. Your son must have a very kind soul, and the little bird sensed it was safe with him. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Laurie. I hand feed a kookaburra and two magpies nearly every day when they visit my garden. It’s a joy to feel trusted by these tiny creatures. 🙂

  20. Animals always sense when they are safe or in danger. We have a wonderful wildlife rescue center nearby that takes in injured animals and sets them free when they are able to take care of themselves. I sent a baby flicker there that was injured there, after my cat drew my attention to it. I packed it up in a shoe box and one of the volunteers came to pick it up. And then there is Mr. Robin who still follows me around my yard.

  21. Because we live on the lake and out in the country, we pretty much live with wildlife, the smaller birds and squirrels that show up at the bird feeders to the herons, pelicans and eagles that come through during migration to the groundhogs, rabbits, raccoons and armadillos. We don’t see deer here, but I think there are at least a few in the area. And that’s not mentioning the peskier critters such as ants, spiders and mice that try to move in with us. People here think we are at least a little crazy for moving out here when we don’t have a boat and we don’t fish. But we sit out on the porch in the evening and look at the stars, listen to the bird songs, watch the squirrels play and an armadillo strut down the street and know we are exactly where we want to be.

  22. Your son is a man after my own heart Laurie! Nature is always finding a way to intrude within our doors with two labs, one pug, five cats, 3 fish, one amazon parrot and two guinea pigs. Sometimes nature comes without invitation though, as some birds found a way to beak their way into our outside stucco, and set up nests. We hear the just born birds chirping in the mornings. Of course while we are not exactly thrilled that we have some damage to our house, we love wildlife far too much to interfere. 🙂

    Fabulous post. Great to see your son Laurie!

    • Sam — Are you sure you’re Sam Juliano and not Dr. Doolittle?! I love that even though the birds have invaded your home’s stucco, you’ve opted to wait for the babies to leave the next before you take any action 🙂

  23. What a lovely rescue story! My most recent close encounter with wildlife was coming face to face with a young deer on one of my walks. I’m not sure which of us was the most startled.

  24. It’s good to have a happy ending. I was at a bus stop once when one small bird was chasing another and it almost slammed into the plexiglass. But the victim bird was chased to the grass in front of us and the other bird kept pecking at it viciously on the ground in front of us. It looked dead. The other bird flew away. It lay there in the grass not moving at all. After five minutes, before the bus came, it got up and flew away. We’re still waiting for the avian police to arrest the attacker. Imagine if the bus had come on time: we would have thought it was a bad ending.

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