Don't worry, I didn't find something disturbing out about my provenance and my mother. Mom's still mom, birth and all. All is kosher on that front.
The thing is, now I'm a mom.
It was very sudden - and kind of ironic, considering last night I was watching TLC's commercials for "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" and smirking at the women on there. Then wham, bam, no thank you ma'am, the next day I'm a mom.
I was at the barn, taking out a wheelbarrow full of horse poop and shavings. On my way back into the barn I saw a dead mouse, grimaced, and went to get the shovel to pick him up. Then it happened.
He was sitting there in our indoor arena - which is no longer really a riding arena, since all our dirt is gone. Now it's just ... a big space with fences and gates, in the middle of our barn. He was a little lump of gray fluff. He could have been anything - a lump of horse poop, a big rock, something bigger and deader than my friend the dead mouse.
But I knew it was a baby bird.
We have high rafters here - it's the old Dairy Barn at the Michigan State Fairgrounds, and its ceilings are high. I don't even want to postulate on how many feet from the ground the rafters/ceilings are; I'm afraid of heights and even just thinking about such great heights makes me queasy. I don't know if he fell from far, or fell from somewhere nearer to earth and has been lurking around since. He's not injured, just a fledgling who doesn't quite know how to fly yet, but has no trouble hopping around.
I looked and looked for his birth mom or dad - no such luck. Nobody was making noises for him, so he might've been disowned for saying something mean to someone. I was just going to leave him and let him fend for himself, but when I bent down to get a closer look at him, he came up to me, right to my shoe, looked up at me and chirped once.
I'm a sucker for a chirp.
Gloves were found and donned, and baby bird was picked up carefully (though not without some indignant squawkage) and transferred carefully to a clean bucket with a base of straw in it. Mom, Expert At All Things™, was consulted on the care and feeding of this fledgling, and then just to be sure, I conferred with The Internets™. I consulted The Internets™ mostly to be sure that this was not a baby pigeon. I hate pigeons. I hate them all (Except for Mo Willems' pigeon. But he's not real, so he's okay).
All was well. I ran home to get some wet dog food to mix up for him**, and jury-rigged long food-tipped straws to sit in the bucket at heights he could reach easily while I finished my chores. I am, if nothing else, a master of invention, and after all, necessity is the mother of invention. I've since moved him to a big box filled with hay, still with the necessary food-straw contraptions. When he comes home with me in a few days he will have a bigger box in my shed, with the usual suspects. After that, I don't know.
The Internets™ told me this baby bird is a starling. I've always wanted a starling. I remember a few stories heard as a young girl, of starlings taught to speak like mynah birds or parrots. The story of the starling in Mary Poppins, the starling who speaks only to Annabelle and that oddity, Miss Poppins, always gave me the warm fuzzies. Even the name is cute - stars are pretty, and -ling = small. Small stars. Cute.
So I guess now I have one. We'll see how this goes. Time to read up on starling behavior!
*Hello, proof, here is your pudding. So. Cute.
**As the baby bird is helpless, noisy, messy, and fuzzy, I assume his gender is male. This formula (helpless + noisy + messy + fuzzy = male) has never failed me in the past.