Canada Day in Calgary

The weekend came early; we picked up the grandkids on Wednesday afternoon for Canada Day. Of course we generally keep them only for a day at a time, they wear us out. When they come over we keep them really busy, they help to keep us young, we are so lucky.

When you spend a lot of time in nature you become familiar with some of the creatures you share the earth with. For example there is a nesting pair of Crows with juvenile crows about 100 feet from our house. There are the guys that set off the alarm in the neighbourhood when the Coyotes go by. They are very noisy. There is a family of Magpies but they are very secretive, not sure exactly where they nest. Last year they made a nest about a few meters from my house but a neighbour destroyed the nest. They are early risers and they are very noisy. I do know they are very mischievous; I have seen them taunt the neighbour’s dogs. We have to double bag our garbage. There are a few nesting Robins, they will be gone in a few weeks and of course there are the Sparrows, that nest everywhere. I have some nesting I my air vents, as soon as the babies leave the nest I will block the entrance. Last week we were taking a stroll in the Coulee and saw some a grass snake about a foot long. I am hoping to see others. Nature at its finest.

 On Wednesday evening we were returning from the park when there was a big commotion in our backyard. A couple of Robins were chasing a Crow as the Crow appear to be in hot pursuit of the baby Robin that was probably leaving the nest for the first time. In the commotion the baby fell in my rock garden and went for cover.  I could not help thinking it would have made a great photo story. Where is the camera when you need it? As you can imagine this created lots of excitement for the kids.

Standing around looking at the baby bird we were constantly been attacked by the parents. It was supper time and after much hesitation we decided to leave the baby bird where it fell and monitor the situation. We discussed the dilemma as we ate and came up with the solution to keep the baby bird in a box and feed it.  We found a box and went to get the bird. She was gone; we looked everywhere but could not find her. The parents were still around so we imagine that the baby was close by, perhaps in the neighbour’s yard where her nest was located under the second floor balcony. I felt a sense of relief in that if I don’t know where it was I could move on. The kids kept asking about the bird, I had no answers.

On Thursday morning the neighbour came out to cut the grass in the backyard, after about 15 minutes I suddenly realize that he could kill the baby if it was still in his yard. I decided to go out and talk to him. As I approached the fence a Robin suddenly flew from the ground and started to hover above my head. I went to the place it had been a sure enough the baby Robin was standing there frozen with worms hanging from its beak. I believe it was its defensive posture. I told my neighbour the story and we decided to try and return the baby Robin to the nest. We first netted it and attempted to force it into the nest. Well she was having none of it and attempted to fly away. The parents were quite vocal with their objection. Then something incredible happened. The commotion attracted a Crow that hovered close by; within seconds at least 5 other Robins shows up and immediately attacked the Crow, leaving the parents to focus on the baby, quite remarkable. After several tries we decided to let nature take its course.

In the early afternoon my grandson and Jo went for a nap. My granddaughter asked if we can go find the baby bird. During the entire experience she had been very close to the action. She even tried to catch the bird with her bare hands. This time I brought my camera so I can capture the moment.  We looked for about 5 minutes however we could not find it.  You know how kids are you have to keep them busy, after several suggestions we decided to go to the stream (Calgary 12 miles Coulee, Google it), she calls it ‘the river’, to sail a Styrofoam boat that one of my neighbours had made for the kids. At this time of year the trees and shrub are quite mature and is quite dense, full of wild roses. Oh and it is where the coyotes live. I understand they sleep during the day. The first thing I do whenever I go there is to find a big stick. We made it down the hill to the river, unfortunately the water is just a trickle and unsuitable for ‘boating’, so we found a new game to play, jumping across the stream, she would count to 3 and we would jump.  She only fell in once quite amusing.

One of the intriguing things being at the stream is that you can hear voices but you can’t see anyone because of the dense bush. I keep my stick close.  I am sure it is safe there are always mothers and kids about, without sticks even. I am from St Kitts OK. We stayed about 15 minutes and then we made our way back up to the top of the hill, along the way we encountered a few people taking a stroll along the banks of the stream. My granddaughter was quite happy and expressed herself by holding my hand dancing and singing while she went around me in circles. I laughed so hard I got giddy from spinning around. I had to sit for a few minutes.

My granddaughter is getting to the age where she is beginning to decide if she wants to visit us or not. This week I went to her house for a short visit and she thought I had come to get her without asking so she was quite vocal in her opposition to the idea.  It broke my heart. Today she was so happy it more than made up for the earlier rejection. Hey I am a suck.

Thursday 10:30PM

My daughter came to pick up her kids, they left at 4pm and I immediately went to bed. Just got up and decided to write.

Ill let you know if I encounter the baby bird again.

1/20 of Kittitians in Calgary, but the only couch potato.

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