Chemistry picture of the week: The baby bird

Baby bird

This week, my supervisor and I set my confirmation date for the 19th of February. After the meeting, the reality of what I needed to get done by that date really hit me, and I spent three days of the week floundering. My intention was to try to organise my results and figure out how to use them to tell a story, but in reality, I was just panicking and getting nothing productive done. Yesterday, I finally took my coworkers’ advice, put aside my own results and started working on my literature review instead. I thought that having some words on the page and flexing my technical writing muscles would only help when it came to actually writing about my work. As a result, though, I’ve had a pretty boring week, and don’t have any interesting chemistry stories to tell. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the baby bird.

The baby bird came into our lives on Wednesday in a cardboard box. One of my coworkers, a sweet soul who once rescued a stray cat and coos over just about any animal she meets on the street, walked into the office holding the box. She told us she found this little bird just outside the chemistry building. At this point, we realised that she meant she literally had the bird in the box, and crowded around it to have a peek. There it was, this little ball of feathers, huddled in a dim corner of the box. It chirped unhappily at us for shoving our faces at it. This coworker of mine asked for advice for what to do with the bird — she was convinced that its mother had abandoned it. We didn’t really have any good advice to give, apart from the obvious fact that she couldn’t keep it in the office. She reluctantly took the box outside. She tipped it over as a makeshift shelter and left the bird a little bowl of water.

We thought that would be that. The next morning, though, the baby bird was still there. My coworker took a second box outside, and told me she’d brought the bird some food. I never asked her what she’s attempting to feed the bird, but I spied a bowl in the second box that looked to be full of bird seed. Yesterday evening, as I left the building to head home, the bird was bravely exploring its new surroundings — that is, as long as I kept a reasonable distance. At this point, I began to suspect that the bird might be there to stay.

This morning proved me no different. A third box has been taken to join the other two, which are now wet from the heavy shower this morning. My caring coworker continues to look after the bird, while another is irrationally annoyed at her. I’m a softie, so while I don’t really want to meddle with the wild animal, I really hope that everything turns out alright for the little bird.

For posts about chemistry, stay tuned. In the meanwhile, you can contact me via e-mail at or find me on Twitter, where I tweet about chemistry stuff as @Lady_Beaker.


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