Saving Easter

No, no ‘passover lamb’ was pardoned, nor were any eggs picked or left undisturbed. A life was brought back from certain death: my daughter saved a fledgling, not by accident, by precautions she took against such eventuality.

Fledgling saved by catch blankets

Chick saved by blankets and pillows circling the palm

How did this come about, you ask? It’s nothing short of a miracle in my mind.

We have a sparrow couple living up in the branches of the high palm tree in our backyard. It isn’t very common for sparrows to nest in palm tree branches – but this is an uncommon backyard. Food appears magically every morning at 7am on the wall. Birds of all sorts feast upon this daily bounty; they’ve come to depend on it. With such providence, what homely pair wouldn’t nest nearby?

My daughter called me, tearfully, yesterday, while I was in class mid-morning, tutoring a student on a complicated engineering subject. A chick had fallen down from the palm tree onto the hard ground beneath. I could not get back home right then – and promised to call back.

The baby bird died. She’d tried to save it, but the fall from such height had broken the flightless thing’s body. I came back to find the bird buried in one of my seedling patches with flowers lovingly placed nearby.

A grim, determined look assailed me…I knew she’d composed herself and done what needed doing. Her little cousin – whom she babysits often – followed her, lamb-like, and helped her with a strange spectacle.

My daughter was arranging all her blankets and pillows around the palm tree!

“What are you doing?!”

“Don’t want another chick to die like this, Dad!”

“But – but those pillows! We need those!”

“You don’t use them, DO YOU?!”

Humbled, I too helped her, lamb-like, and replaced the pillows with old ones I could find. And old sofa cushions. See them in the picture? Gave her any old blanket or bed cover I could find. The palm tree now wore a soft cloth skirt near its roots.

I hugged my daughter – twice – as she left to drop her cousin. Not a word from her.

Texted her later that night, thanking her for her care and love for our backyard beings, suggesting treats at a local movie theater or restaurant. No replies.

We worked in the backyard again this morning. My son helped pluck weeds and my daughter tended her peas and potato patch. She moved over to the palm tree, and I saw her gesticulating, shocked by something. Another bird on the ground? I wasn’t worried this instance – the skirt may well have helped, and being here together would be easier in a crisis.

A fledgling! It was on one of the blankets laid out, hiding from the sun in the shade of a pillow. And it was alive, and unhurt!

She picked it up carefully and brought it over. Its mouth was wide open. Dehydration, a need for food. We quenched its thirst immediately, and my son went to find a shoe box and a soft towel. Having taken care of chicks before, my daughter knew exactly what to do with this little thing. She fed it and settled in into the box.

“You saved a life – you thought of what may happen.”

She just smiled.



About Rian Nejar

Rian Nejar is an Indian-American author. He trained and worked as an engineer in India, lived briefly in the Middle East, and arrived in America in the early 90's. After a Master’s degree in electrical engineering in America, he worked as an academic instructor, engineer, entrepreneur, and technical writer over the two decades since. Humbling and Humility ( is his first mainstream nonfiction. He lives and writes in the Southwest United States.
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