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How to Be a DiNozzo

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Chapter 45 – Tzippor (ציפור )(bird) – July 2030

Sixteen year old Tali wiped the sweat from her face using the small towel she had around her neck. She didn't mind mowing the lawn when her turn came around, but somehow she managed to have that chore on one of the hottest weekends of the summer. Even riding the lawn tractor, she worked up a sweat in the unusually high humidity. It was almost as though just breathing could cause one to work up a sweat.

The first time she noticed movement in the flower beds by the shed she thought nothing of it, figuring it was just the discharge from the mower deck causing the plants to move. On the second pass, she was far enough out from the flower bed that she knew it was not the mower deck discharge. She stopped the lawn tractor, making sure to disengage the mower deck before shutting the engine off.

She approached the flower bed slowly, not wanting to spook whatever critter may be hiding in the zinnias, strawflowers, and Shasta daisies. When she realized what had caught her eye, she figured out that she didn't have to worry about spooking anything. An eastern bluebird sat on the dirt under the plants; one wing was tucked in as normal but the other was partially extended at a weird angle.

The injured bird looked up at her and cheeped. Tali responded softly, "It's okay little bird; I can help you. Tzippor you are a beautiful bird…" She slowly inched closer to get a better look at the bird. There was definitely something wrong with its wing.

Tali pulled her phone out of her shorts pocket; she selected Anthony's number from her speed dial and pressed the call icon.

"Yeah sis?" Anthony answered quickly. He had just moved a load of sheets into the dryer and started a second load. His weekly chore was to wash the sheets and towels for the family.

"I need your help outside. And anyone else who is available," she explained.

"What's up?"

"I found an injured bird in the flower bed by the shed, I think it has a broken wing," Tali moved a bit closer to the bird.

Anthony had moved to the sliding doors to the deck as they spoke, "I see you; what do you need?"

Tali thought a minute, "A towel to toss over it to calm it enough so we can catch it; a box with another towel inside. Poke some holes in the box for ventilation."

LJ noticed Anthony by the doors; he had been vacuuming and dusting the common rooms in the house. He was almost done with his chore for the week when Anthony came into the room.

"Whatcha looking at?" he moved next to his brother. He looked out into the yard and saw Tali by the shed. The lawn tractor was parked in the middle of the grassy area.

Anthony held up a finger as he replied to their older sister, "Okay; I got LJ here, so we'll be out there in a few. We can get Riv too; Beth is with Ima and Abba at the grocery store. Can you think of anything else we need to bring to you?"

"Nope; I'll keep an eye on the bird until you get out here."

The older boy turned to his little brother, "Tali found an injured bird. She wants us to bring out some towels and a box to put it in. Will you help?"

"Sure," LJ followed Anthony to the laundry room to grab some towels from the pile that Ima kept in the cleaning supplies. Most were older towels that the family had used for bath towels until they became worn. Anthony put three towels into LJ's arms.

The two boys went into the garage to find a box; LJ spotted one that should be large enough for the bird in a pile to be broken down for recycling. He pointed it out to Anthony. The older boy grabbed the box and one of his father's screwdrivers. He poked holes in the box with the screwdriver to give the bird air.

Satisfied with the number of holes, he put the screwdriver back on its rack and grabbed the box, "Let's go." LJ followed his brother back inside to the family room. Both were about to exit onto the deck when Rivka came by with the bathroom cleaning tote. She had finished her weekly chore and was headed to put the cleaning supplies away in the laundry room cabinet.

"Whatcha doing?" she queried.

"Helping Tali rescue an injured bird," LJ replied. "You can help too if you want."

Riv put the tote on the floor by the window and followed her brothers out into the yard. The three younger DiNozzos slowed their approach as they got closer to Tali and the injured bird. Anthony set the box on the ground and Riv took two of the towels from LJ to place inside the box as padding for the bluebird.

LJ handed the third towel to his big sister, "What's the plan?"

"We'll have to throw the towel over the bird quickly; once it's covered, it should calm down some and one of us can scoop it up in the towel. We'll have to be careful not to hurt the wing any further," she outlined her plan to the others. "Once we have it captured, we can check the Northern Virginia Wildlife Rescue Center website to see what to do next. I think they have a hotline we can call, too."

Asher and Daisy had followed the kids out into the yard; both were sniffing around and curious about the box. Anthony looked around for any of the family's cats, hoping the four felines were still in the house. The last thing they needed was a curious cat freaking out the bird.

"Riv, you watch for the cats and try to keep Asher and Daisy from getting in the bird's face," Anthony suggested to his younger sister. "I'll help with the dogs. LJ, you can have the box ready for Tali to put the bird inside."

Tali slowly got as close to the bird as she could and tossed the towel over it. She wrapped her hands around the small lump that was the bird and lifted it into the towel. LJ grabbed the box and slid it under the towel and bird in his big sister's hands. Tali lowered the bird into the box and set it on the towels inside. She lifted the towel over the bluebird and it looked around inside the box. The bird let out a small peep.

Asher put his nose in the box, checking out what his people were looking at. LJ carried the box to the deck as the other three young DiNozzos and the two four-legged family members followed. He placed the box on a table on the covered part of the deck as Tali and Anthony pulled up the wildlife rescue organization's web site on their phones.

Tali called the rescue hotline and talked with one of the center volunteers. She got directions to their main building for receiving injured animals and hours of operation to drop off the bird. Once Ima and Abba got home from grocery shopping, she would get one of them to help get the bird to the rescue center. Since she was newly licensed and did not have her own vehicle yet, Tali wanted to wait for one of her parents to make the drive to Falls Church to the rescue group's facilities.

Tony drove Tali and LJ to the Wildlife Rescue Center of Northern Virginia later that day. The male eastern bluebird had surgery to repair damage to its wing, but it was not able to fly again due to irreparable damage to one of the major muscles for the wing. The bird was placed in the center's avian refuge and became a permanent resident of its facility's aviary.