The shrieks of my youngest daughter brought me running into the kitchen. The look on her face said it all. I knew what was coming as I saw her with the refrigerator door open: " You do know this is the most disgusting thing in the world don't you? You promised me you would not do this and here they are again! "
I attempted to get in a " yes, but...." as her finger pointed to the object of her wrath, an assortment of thawing rodents and slivers of beef heart in a zip lock bag.
This was lunch for the Mississippi Kites anxiously waiting for the delicacies that so repulsed my vegetarian daughter.
I dump the rodents on to a disposable plate to thaw outside by the door and began filling bowls with beef heart. After a sprinkling of calcium powder, a pinch of avian vitamins and a swoosh of the spoon I am out the door. The kites greet me with their frantic whistling and within seconds the bowl is encompassed by 15 bobbing heads.
A squawking from the aviary led me to check on the songbirds. I can always count on the blue jays to let me know when the meal worms bowl is empty. So it is back to the kitchen to cut up grapes and scoop up a few hundred meal worms that are quickly scattered over the grapes. The last bowl is filled with soaked Science Diet and breakfast is served to the blue jays, mockingbirds, kingbird's, sparrows and doves that occupied my aviary.
Since that day, the escape hatch portion of the aviary door was opened and I has the privilege and pleasure to see each bird released for a second chance at life.
As I watched the newly released Mississippi Kites soaring in the sky, riding high on the thermals I feel I have a glimpse into natures soul. I then remember them as they once were: tiny featherless infants, some barely alive when rescuers bring them to my door. This is why I work for free. This is my pay check.
If you live in Texas as I do and need help in dealing with a wildlife issue or help in locating a wildlife rehabber in your town, click here http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/rehab/list/