Those Darn Kids!

By Long Shot contributor Joan Scharf:

She kept frantically running back and forth, back and forth, five, maybe six times as if her life depended on it. What was she doing, I wondered? I watched for over an hour and finally saw what she was after.  As she ran from my sight, I could see the well-fought for meal in her mouth. She worked all afternoon to get that meal. Her babies would be well fed tonight. I wondered if maybe they hadn’t eaten in days. Good mother that she is, she did not stop to eat herself. No, she took that rabbit back to the den to feed her hungry pups.  The coyote mother was doing what many other mothers were doing that early evening. She was feeding her family.

Coyote puppies - waiting for mom to bring home dinner?
Coyote puppies – waiting for mom to bring home dinner?

I wondered how many human mothers would spend that much time getting food for their babies, especially if they had to hunt and cook the food instead of taking something out of the freezer and microwaving it.

The following day another drama unfolded over a three hour period. Another mother was frantically trying to help her baby. I watched helplessly as a baby bluejay flew into the open garage and up onto the rafters. Over and over again he flew from rafter to rafter, screaming and screeching for his mother. The large door was wide open but somehow even though he flew in, he could not see the escape route right in front of him.I tried to shoo him toward the door but no luck. He flew up into the ceiling looking for his escape route.

Mama bluejay heard the frantic screams and flew into the garage.

After sitting next to him on the rafters until he calmed down, she then showed him the way out and flew out the open door. Baby did not follow. Again he screamed and screeched, now so stressed his beak was wide open and he was panting. It was over 90 degrees in the garage and I could tell he was in danger of overheating. I gently sprayed water from the hose over his tiny body to cool him down. He was quiet for a while but then continued his screams. Three more times mama came in and tried to show him the way out. Three more times he did not follow her.

Finally, I decided to put a pan of birdseed on the garage floor hoping he would come down to eat and realize he was inches away from the outdoors and freedom.  Mama came down and investigated the seed, baby followed her onto the ground. Finally! Mama and baby flew off together.  Again, I wondered if a human mother would have done as much as that bird had done for her baby. After all, she could have just left him as the baby was able to fly on his own and most likely old enough to find his own food. Her instinct told her to stay and help.

A hippo mom helps her calf do...something.  Baby hippos are born underwater - maybe this little calf is heading towards open air for the first time?
A hippo mom helps her calf do…something. Baby hippos are born underwater – maybe this little calf is heading towards open air for the first time?

Time after time I have witnessed animal mothers risking their own lives to save their babies. Mama bears taking on large males who might be a threat, mother lions tangling with a huge male to protect a cub, raccoon mothers spending all day looking for food for baby, mama cats nearly starving to death themselves while still feeding five tiny kittens. Some people believe that humans are the rulers of the earth, the top of the food chain, the lords of the land.

This day, like so many others lately, these stories are cropping up on our newsfeeds:

A 24-year-old Pennsylvania woman abandoned her 8-month-old daughter in the woods with the hopes of getting “a fresh start,” according to police.

Jennifer Cutruzzula was spotted by a neighbor walking into the woods with her child, only to emerge alone. The neighbor called police and went into the woods and found the baby girl on a muddy hillside next to a bottle of milk.

“She walked into this area with the intention of abandoning the child,” said Alleghany County District Attorney Stephen Zappala

I will leave the reader to decide who should be the lords of the land.

Yes, even snails have moms
Yes, even snails have moms

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