Contest: Alchemy and Meggy Swann

Since Meggy’s last name is Swann and her best friend is Louise the goose, our contest will have an animal theme.  Briefly tell of the most interesting animal you have befriended (or who has befriended you).  It can be a pet, someone else’s pet, or an animal you met on a hike one day, but be sure to post by Friday, April 30, when I will draw a name to win a signed copy of Alchemy and Meggy Swann.  You get your name in the drawing an extra time if your story involves a goose or a swan:)


3 Responses to Contest: Alchemy and Meggy Swann

  1. Maria Gianferrari says:

    Not a goose, or a swan, but a bird…

    One spring evening I found a baby bird on the road. Sparsely coated with spiny brown feathers, its heart throbbed under translucent skin. Its eyes were closed. I looked for a nest. I looked for nearby birds. Baby birds should not be touched, I thought, but if I left this bird on the street, it would surely be killed.

    I placed the bird in the tall grass and walked home. It was May. Days were warm, but nights were cold. All evening long, I thought only of the bird. Without protection, it would die from exposure. Finally, I grabbed a flashlight and ran outside. It lay still and alone, but alive. Once home, I placed it in a small plastic bowl lined with washcloths. I checked on the bird throughout the night, but its eyes were always closed.

    The next morning, I heard a faint peep. As I approached, it became louder. Its brown eyes were finally open. The bird flailed around in the bowl. Its head tilted back and its mouth opened wide: “Feed me!”

    I called a nearby wildlife rehabilitation center to determine how to care for it. Because it was a nestling, I was advised to construct a nest, and place it where I found the bird. I stuffed a hanging plastic flowerpot with leaves, placed the bird inside, hung it on a nearby fence, and waited. No birds returned. And this baby bird was hungry. So I took it home.

    New England Wildlife Center agreed to take the nestling. In the meantime, I fed “Fritz” cat food, and placed water on the tip of his beak with an eyedropper. “More!” said his wide-open mouth. After feeding him, I placed Fritz in a fresh nest of washcloths. He quickly fell asleep.

    I fed Fritz mornings and evenings for one week. He greedily gulped dried worms and peanut butter mixed with oil. His feathers filled in. His toes twined around my finger as if it were a branch. Fritz was sparrow-sized and brown, but his large brown eyes resembled a robin’s. When I dropped him off at the wildlife center, the staff told me Fritz was a grackle. Grackles are robin-sized black birds with yellow eyes and iridescent feathers. Their heads flash blue-green or violet in the sunlight. I often see grackles at my bird feeder–might one have been Fritz’s mother?

    Six weeks later I got a phone call that Fritz was healthy enough to be released into the wild. Whenever I see grackles at my bird feeder, I wonder, could it be Fritz or one of his relatives?

  2. Kate says:

    When I was little, at my grandparents house, there was a white squirrel with bright red eyes. We used to keep a bag of peanuts in the kitchen, and when we saw him come around, we would bring a few outside and wait. He would come, take the peanuts from our hands and nibble away. No one was ever bitten (despite most people’s gasps of disbelief when I tell this story–kids near a squirrel??)
    To this day I have a fondness for squirrels . . . I wish I would have one as an actual pet. ^_^

    And there was no befriending, but its a story about a swan:
    My town likes to flood after a lot of rain. That is, the roads turn into lakes. I was driving to work the other week, and traffic was being funneled into one lane due to the water. As I drive by I look over at the road/parking lot-lake and what do I see? A full grown swan, paddling around his new swimming spot, happy as can be while the humans are inconvenienced on the road. ^_^
    I wish I had my camera.

  3. Pam says:

    I have had a string of bizarre pets. Our lesbian poodle Kristy, who hated ALL men except my father. My duck who was afraid of water. My rabbit who preferred to eat meat. The stray cat who was so skinny she looked malnourished and then gave birth to five kittens! And, currently, my blind chocolate lab Bo the Wonder Dog who thinks he’s a lap dog (at 65 lbs).

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