A Peek at Peeper

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Here's an exerpt of my novel for NaNo. We really raised a baby robin one summer.


Phoebe saw her kitten, Butterscotch, crouched in the grass watching something. Her gaze followed his sight. There was something fluttering under the lilac bush. She stepped closer. It was a baby bird. Looking above it she saw a nest in the branches with (nothing in it) some other birds in it. She gently picked him up, holding his stubby wings folded close. She could feel his heart pounding under her fingers. His yellow beak opened wide and he gave a weak squawk. She tried to put him back in the nest, hoping his mother was nearby, but he flopped out. She couldn’t just leave him on the ground for Butterscotch to attack.

She cradled him in her hands again and carried him to the house. “Maseppa, look what I found. What do baby birds eat?”

Maseppa looked her hands. The bird’s downy feathers fluffed out on his breast and under his tail, but the top of his head and wings and tail were smooth with new feathers. He opened his beak again in a dry peep.

“He needs to drink water.”

“I’ll make him a nest with rags in something.”

“Use the old milk bucket, with the hole. It makes a mess when it leaks.”

“Will you hold him while I make the nest, Maseppa?” She transferred the tiny pitiful creature to Maseppa’s strong hands and ran off to the shed to find the bucket and rags.

With steady movements, she dropped water into the open beak one drop at a time. Its throat quivered with each swallow. Soon it’s eyes blinked and it hunkered down to sleep.

“I wonder what they eat. I know grown – up robins eat worms. Do you think baby robins will too?”

“I think it would be good,” answered Maseppa. “It will be a lot of work to take care of a baby bird.”

“I know, but it needs me. It needs a home.”

Phoebe found the spade and dug in the pile of rotten cabbage leaves and food garbage, out in the chicken yard. She had to be quick to grab the worms before the chickens saw it. Soon she had three of them.

By the time she got back in kitchen, the baby bird was cheeping in his bucket. She held one end of a worm and the bird stopped peeping long enough to gobble down the worm and peeped for more.

“You are a pig, not a bird!” One after the other the worms disappeared and Phoebe gave him another spoonful of water, one drop at a time. He flapped his stubby wings and squirted a white blog on the brown rag.

“Ewwww! I’m not going to change your bed every time you do that… what am I going to name you?”

Every hour or two the bird let everyone know he was awake and hungry. Before the sun even shone through the kitchen window, he was squawking for breakfast.

Phoebe was getting tired of digging for worms. It was getting harder and harder to find some good spots. The chicken yard was a lumpy mess of potholes where she dug. She wanted to dig in the garden where it was already soft, but Zeke said she might step on the young plants. She decided it was time for help.

“Matthew, would you like to see something special?”


“I’ve got a baby bird. He fell out of a tree.”


“You can’t touch him. He’s really tiny.”

“Ahhh… he’s so small. What do you feed him? What do birds eat?”

“I feed him worms, but I’m getting tired of digging them up. Do you know where there are some worms?”

“Worms? Of course… I dig worms all the time to go fishing.”

“I’ll pay you a penny for five worms.”

“That’s a lot. I say, give me a penny for ten worms, if I can help you feed him.”

“Hmmmmm… alright, but you have to be gentle.”

“What’s his name?”

“I haven’t decided yet. I think I’ll name him Peeper.”

“That’s a good name.”


LauraLee Shaw said...

This is great, Vonnie. I could picture the whole scene!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read the whole sequel! Sunny

Dee Yoder said...

Love this character, Vonnie! It's going to be a great book. ( :

Joanne Sher said...

Beautifully described and a real magic about the characters. I agree with Dee - gonna be a great book, dear!

Laury said...

Thanks for letting us take a peek into your NaNo project, Vonnie. It's so cute. Keep up pressing on!


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