I was greeted by a strange sight last night as I drove down the alley: Frank and Jemmy were in the yard!
They usually stop by very early in the morning (5:15ish), stop in briefly in the afternoon (per the mother) and then they circle back just before dusk (when I put more seeds out). At first, I was delighted.
My delight quickly changed to concern as I noticed that Frank was limping. At one point, he was all but falling over as he tried to eat. For more than an hour, he and Jemmy ate, got quick drinks (from our pool, more on that later) and then Frank laid down. He took a few brief naps, in between hobbling a step or two to get more food and then a drink. And then the cycle would repeat itself.
Meanwhile, our yard was starting to look like Wild Kingdom. Two ducks. Four squirrels. Two rabbits. About a dozen sparrows, a handful of robins, two Cardinal couples -- all within about 15 feet of one another. It was a sight to behold. For just a little while, except for all of the power lines and the din of traffic from our four-lane roadway, it was if we had moved to the country!
As it began to get dark, both Frank and Jemmy were laying in the yard. She was alert; he had his head tucked beneath a wing. This didn't look good. Some time later, he tried to crawl beneath one of the junipers but I think he found the thistly branches too unpleasant and he abandoned that idea, returning to the center of the yard.
I thought we were going to have to watch the two of them overnight -- especially because of the marauding neighborhood cats that we already chase out of the yard when they come to stalk our bunnies. We now own a Super Soaker to deal with the likes of them!
But, just as the last of the sunset color slipped from the sky, Jemmy began to waddle across the yard. When she hit the alley, she took flight. Frank limped along behind her. While he was flying low, he still managed to fly after her. Then they were gone. I walked a few blocks to see if he had fallen down anywhere but saw no sign of them.
Then, early this morning, Jemmy arrived. Alone. The mother and I were panic-stricken.
As I was gathering my stuff and finishing getting dressed, I suddenly heard the mother scream. I tore into the kitchen.
Frank was back!!! And not only was he back, he seemed to be walking OK!!! What a relief. I really worried about them last night and especially overnight as storms rolled through. And, I'm so glad we got to see them both BEFORE even more storms rolled through again. Ugh. (Good news is that the threat of severe weather seems to dry up later today.)
Here's hoping that it was just a freak thing and that he really is doing better.