December 2015

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.


3 comments to The turtle better live

  • I hope you have better luck with your turtle rescue than your bird rescue. I startled a bird the other day when I went outside. It flew up and straight into the window, then fell dazed onto the patio. A few minutes later, I think it recovered enough to fly away.

  • I got a good look and indeed, there is one red stripe on each side of its head. Will a creek do? Or should it be a pond? I know a lot of turtles are woodland creatures. I just couldn’t leave it in the road, that’s for sure.

  • have also seen turtles

    This is a red slider. They live in the water and come out to lay eggs, so your turtle just had or was going to dig a hole and deposit eggs, which will hatch in 60-90 days, and then cover the hole. By the way, the baby turtles need to live on land for three weeks before they enter the water (their “belly-button” has to be dry while it heals), so if you find a baby turtle, don’t throw it in a pond, help it find a hidden spot in the landscape away from a road, and cross your fingers that it will find its way to the water when the time is right.