Tom and the Magpie

Tom learned about death today.

For some years, a family group of magpies have been coming to our garden each spring to make and raise babies. Last spring was no different. However, as all but one of the young learned to feed and take care of themselves, it became more and more obvious that one was a bit behind the 8-ball brain-wise. It fell off the shed roof, it couldn’t feed itself, and eventually it’s family abandoned it to stay unsupervised in our garden.

This afternoon while Thea slept, Blaine heard a commotion in the front yard. She went to investigate, and found 2 big crows attacking a magpie. She shoo-ed the crows away and gently carried the mortally wounded magpie in, calling “Wendy!” As soon as I saw the poor little bird I knew exactly which one it was. Tom came running too and of course wanted to know what was going on.

Although nature was taking care of its own in its own way, we thought it kinder to this little bird that had endured so much that it died in peace. So we called Rob and asked how much of the anaesthetic that we keep for just such occasions we should administer to put it to sleep. We gently placed the little creature in a big airtight container, put a cloth soaked in anaesthetic in as well, and shut the lid. The struggling ceased. Some time later, when we were sure that the little one was dead, Tom helped us to wrap the body in a beautiful cloth, and he chose where we would bury it in the back yard. He helped to dig the hole, and we prayed for it to be at peace as we put the wrapped body in the hole and gently covered it with earth.

Tom shed a lot of tears when he realised that even his beloved Pa could not make this one better. And then he shed tears for the sadness that the “Mummy and Daddy” of the little guy would feel on the loss of their baby.

A very big day for our Tom.

We never got a photo of this magpie, but this photo is of a very healthy magpie in Tom’s back yard:-)

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