June 2012

The turtle better live

(C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

UPDATE: The turtle, named Keystone, is a mature, male, red-eared slider. It has a new home at Garfield Park.

Nature has come front and center this week with the Hoosier Gardener.

While watering — which we get do to a lot of right now — a mouse or a vole disappeared at the basement window. It was there, then it wasn’t. I saw it go through the window frame. When I first moved here, a mouse got in the same way and I plugged the hole with aluminum foil and it worked for years. Now, though, I want to replace the windows with glass block. They will look better and do a better job of keeping critters out. Will have to check prices, though.

Yesterday was very windy and in early evening, I was in the yard with Bisque, my dog, and Sadie, a friend’s dog. Within minutes, Bisque brought me a baby blackbird, dead from a broken neck. Just a few seconds later, she brought me another one, in bad shape, but it didn’t die until a few minutes later.

Before I could turn around, Bisque had another baby blackbird in her mouth. “Drop it,” I said, and the bird fluttered its wings, but  crawled between two containers planted with annuals.

At this point, I noticed three adult blackbirds sitting on the garage roof, squawking. I put the dogs indoors, found the third bird and set in one of the containers under some flowers.

The next morning, the bird had moved from the pot to the ground about four feet away. I tried not to notice the slug tracks on the baby bird’s feathers.

I picked up the bird and dropped water into its open mouth. I found s skinny worm in the soil and tucked it in the bird’s beak. I had to leave, so I moved the bird to a container on the enclosed porch.

When I returned three hours later, the bird was out of the container. I had to move a ton of furniture and junk to find the bird in the corner. It was not looking great, but marveled at how much of a fighter it was. I gave it a few more drops of water and set it down in a box. Within a few minutes the bird died. Emily Wood at Garfield Park suggested the birds were blown from their nest, so they may not have been able to fledge. And it’s not like we don’t have enough blackbirds. I did feel bad though.

(C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Hopefully, my next encounter will be more rewarding. At 3:30 p.m. today I was driving south on Keystone Avenue, when just south of Woodfield Office Park, there was what looked like a turtle in the road. Rush hour was looming.

I continued south until I could make a u-turn and I drove back to where I saw the turtle. Indeed it was a turtle, looking a bit scuffed, but alive. I picked it up and put it on the floor of the back seat of the car. At home, I put it in a large plastic tub with couple of rocks big enough for the turtle to crawl on and a little water. On Wednesday, I’m going to take it to Garfield Park, where I hope it will find a home in or near one of the creeks.

I don’t know what kind of turtle it is, but it has a lot of coloring on its skin and what looked like red stripes on the side of its head. It’s a bit skittish, but seems to like the strawberries.