I never had a bird land on my shoulder. Until today that is, during the morning walk with the dog and while stopping for a chat with an elderly gentleman we often see around the neighbourhood.

Of all people, the bird singled me out, even though I had a puppy connected to me. Go figure. Brave little soul you could say. Clingy too, since it would not respond to the usual ‘shoo’ that all birds find unappealing and scary enough to take off.

Nope, not this one.

It hopped on my hand and at that moment I suggested the open spaces around us. Again, most birds would go, right? Not this one.

So I gave it a gentle shake and said go. The bird claimed deafness. What next? For the record, I have always been an animal lover and collector at times. Many a fallen baby bird went through the streamlined rehabilitation program I had running as a kid. Stray cats and dogs too. Even a hedgehog, though that one thought he could do better without. We parted with no hard feelings as my hands were full at that time with other critters.

My parents were patient, yes, and mighty understanding of their daughter’s propensity to bring home animals of all kinds. That was then. Now I thought things were pretty clear: we own a beta fish, red and lively, and a puppy, also lively but not red, and my quota is full. My days are filled to the brim with boys learning at home, puppy love and care, writing, gardening and all the other things that happen during a day that allows you but short breaks to sigh and be grateful. Because I am, really.

20160614_084943I do not need a bird though. The where and how have to be figured out and though thjis qualifies as a homeschooling experience alright, I cannot show up for meetings, on Skype or otherwise, with a bird on my shoulder. I am no pirate, though the shoulder-loving bird thinks otherwise.

Sasha’s teacher kindly identified it as a starling. They are an invasive species; very smart and able to learn to talk. Right. Who would not want a talk-back bird when they have two kids already doing that at times and a dog too (barking back)? Well… me, that’s who.

So to review: bird lands on shoulder during morning walk, does not want to rejoin its wild world but sticks with the newly found parental figure, comes home and promptly tries its wings in the kitchen landing on heads, shoulders, and everything else that is not a wall.

Puppy becomes extremely well-behaved sensing that a new baby may be taking the much-coveted place in my heart. Console puppy, reassure puppy, secretly and totally enjoying the sudden sweet demeanour. Acquaint dog with bird and realize that friendship may be possible after all. Emphasis on ‘may’.

Where are we now bird-wise: the high density of crows in the back yard plus the occasional cat prevent us from releasing Star (little boy’s suggestion) out for now, so we are using Poppy’s crate as bird safe space until we return from Forest School. We hop on bus, follow a trail to Peterson Creek Park where school takes place today. I binge on Saskatoon berries, my comfort food.

Today’s task (on top of the many others): figure out the animal shelter situation.

For now I am hiding in a coffee shop, working on a couple of articles and pretending that I am just an ordinary human with nothing extraordinary to report… except for the bird landing on my shoulder, the dog begging me to reconsider bird adoption, and the boys shielding their breakfast from Star, the new addition who might or might not leave us. I know, most birds would. Not this one though.