Ruth: Back Story

I don't know how many of you remember the psychic birder who knew that the ivory billed woodpecker was still out there because they had been in contact with one psychically for quite some time. Some people thought that person was a little on the nutty side. I know a lady who is a tad delusional but in a way that I kinda hope I am if I have to go.

Ruth called the store a couple of years ago and asked for help. She got one of my staff on the phone who didn't know what to make of her and decided to take her name and number to have me call her back. Before he had a chance to fill me in all the
details, I was dialing the number, I had heard enough of the situation: someone had wood peewees they were helping and needed someone to take them.

My employee looked like he had more to say, but I was too busy preparing my speech for someone who was more than likely raising (and imprinting) baby birds and dialed the number.

Ruth answered the phone, in a quiet and cheery voice. Yes, indeed, she had peewees that needed help--nineteen peewees to be exact. She wasn't able to see them because she never looks at animals directly since it makes them uncomfortable. I thought this was odd, but then again, bird people are often odd.

Ruth told me that she knew for a fact that birds didn't like being looked at, because they told her so. Hm.

Apparently, Ruth had starting hearing bird calls years ago, but about seventeen years ago she began hearing the soft chirps most of us never hear or are aware of. These soft chirps were remarkably clear to her and she soon discovered that animals were able to communicate with her in a way that most people were not able to hear. Since that revelation, she has been teaching and discussing several subjects with insects, birds, mice, and squirrels--everything from astronomy to zoology. Interestingly enough the birds were in no way interested in history. Yes, they understood English
and were aware of certain people, but really didn't care about famous figures in history.

After Ruth began communicating with the birds and insects in her yard, others came to speak with her, many via satellite into her brain. As a matter of fact, the sister of a crow that lived in her yard would leave Wood Lake Nature Center daily and visit Ruth's home because she was in the mood for hot dogs and no one at Wood Lake would ever feed hot dogs. The crow would talk to her and tell her about what was going on from Wood Lake before she came over. Eventually, she began communicating with others like white-throated sparrows (not many people are aware of this, but syphilis is rampant in white-throated sparrows) in a kind of relay system. They would often use her to communicate with others of their kind in different parts of the city.

At one point, she started communicating with wood peewees. It started with a husband and wife who had been having problems finding a proper place to nest and had lost a few kids. As a matter of fact they had decided not to nest this year since they couldn't seem to find any of the proper trees and shrubs. After a time she got to know and get in contact with the extended family members. They were looking for a place to stay that winter and they had figured out what the requirements would be space wise (a room about 7 feet by 11 feet filled with lots of plants). Apparently she had called several stores and anyone she could think of related to birds to try and find a place for her peewees and no one was able to help her. She was almost in tears.

It never occurred to me to ask why the peewees weren't migrating, but a sucker for tears I offered my back room to the peewees. She said that she would have to repeat everything I said out loud since the psychic connection with the peewees was just in her brain and they wouldn't be able to hear me through her ears (it made total sense). The peewees had to be on board with the plan and be totally comfortable with the accommodations. Ruth mentioned that they are interested in talking to many in the birding community because proper nesting habitat is becoming a huge issue for them so they felt the store would be a good place to start.

After we worked out the details of food, plants, sleeping arrangements the next step was getting the wood peewees to the store. As you can imagine, Ruth is in a group home and can't really get out. I offered to give directions so the peewees could just fly over, but the peewees weren't too sure about that. I told her where the bird store was and that we had wood peewees out behind the store in the summer. Well, you'll never guess, but the peewees behind my store were related to Ruth's peewees! The relatives gave directions and checked out the store to make sure the accommodations were suitable. They were and plans were made to transport the peewees.

I thought that would be the end of it and I would never hear from this dear old soul again...oh how wrong I was. Ruth appears to be alone in the world and not aloud to leave the hospital, however she has a knack for sneaking out. One night she took the bus from downtown Minneapolis out to the Minnetonka area with about four paper grocery bags full of her peewees. Ruth worried that the birds were too elderly to fly and so she personally escorted them out to the store and then to the bus back into downtown. We later inspected the bags and they were full of newspaper, crumple paper towls, bread and muffins (but no peewees).

Throughout that winter we got several phone calls about requests the peewees had: chocolate, roast beef, vegetables, and "magic ferns" (something only Ruth had at the group home). By spring, the peewees were ready to go out to our wetland and raise families. Ruth assured us that they really enjoyed our accommodations.

We didn't hear from her all summer until the following September...