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Tree Child

Story by Ellen Ensley Created 2002-08-06
Page 2 of 19

Chapter 2 - "It" Gets a Name

After work every day, we carried the big basket, and our little feathered friend out into the woods behind our home. There, on five acres of natural, wooded land bordering a tidal marsh, sits a large wooden deck. This deck is overhung with giant water oaks, dripped in moss, and ancient cedars.
At the end of the sizeable deck, a walkway leads to an old houseboat tied off to surrounding wooden pilings. This is where we would take the baby bird and perch it on a long, low-hanging branch over the deck. At first, the little bird didn't grasp the branch very well and ended up hanging upside down, like a bat, until we set it back upright. The brancher hadn't mastered the art of tree sitting yet.

Soon, it developed a vise-like grip on the perch and quickly gained its balance. Once on this natural perch, free and out in the open, the silly bird would dance from side to side, and do that funny, circular, inquisitive head movement.
"It" loved being outdoors, and became very alert, watching and responding to everything around. No fear. Only curiosity. Dancing shadows, insects, lizards, and other birds fascinated the nestling.

After a few warm summer hours of freedom, we would put the big basket up to the limb, and the baby would hop in of its own accord. This became a daily ritual. After play time, came feeding time, followed by nap time.

The little bird was carried inside the houseboat, where I would pay a CD, "Loon Lake". The music was very calming for the baby, and after being fed "it" would fall asleep to the sound of loon calls and burbling water. This became a favorite pattern for the bird and I. Not really sure who enjoyed it more.

Steve considered playing music for a bird cuckoo. He would give me that LOOK. The LOOK that says.."She may be crazy, but at least she's not dangerous." But, he didn't say anything.

It was on one of these forays to the houseboat that the bird named itself. A fishing trip had been planned, and a bucket of live squirmy, mud minnows, freshly retrieved from the minnow trap off the back of the houseboat attracted the bird's attention.
The little bird became so excited, it almost fell off its tree perch. Steve picked up a slippery minnow and held it out. The minnow was snatched out of his hand and went straight down the birds gullet…bones and all. "It" loved live minnows!!


The Owl sees its first Minnow

After gorging itself on five fat minnows, Steve dubbed it "SUSHI", and the tree perch forevermore became Sushi's Tree.

"In Germany, a charm against the terrible consequences of being bitten by a mad dog was to carry the heart and right foot of an owl under the left armpit." - The Encyclopedia of Superstitions

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