Though the days of sun drenched hours are gone for a while, the birds of the air are still abundant in the skies of their middle Tennessee homes, including those in Bedford County. Their sonnets of song glide on the autumn breezes as the leaves sail the currents they share with the winged friends.

For the Pyrdum family of Shelbyville, the shorter days and cooler temperatures are a bittersweet time. Not only have the hours of light limited their ability to stay outside, but the frosty mornings have curtailed many of the early morning visits they have come to enjoy with a friend named Lucky.

Lucky is a mockingbird, Tennessee’s state bird, who is indeed very lucky.

This past spring, Darlene and Phillip Pyrdum’s daughter, Karen Pyrdum Williams, was enjoying an afternoon of lawn cutting in the bright sunshine when she noticed something tiny in the grass.

“She and her husband were out mowing when they spotted something in front of the mower,” Darlene began. “She called me excited with a rather unusual request.”

It would seem the tiny newborn had fallen from the nest. Because the nest was obviously too high in the tree to be seen or found, Darlene’s daughter brought her the bird to extend the mother’s touch to the fragile creature, who didn’t even have feathers.

“We couldn’t determine what kind of bird it was at first, because it just had a bit of down but no markings,” Darlene said. “Karen knows I am an animal lover. I can’t stand for anything to hurt.”

She hurriedly prepared a home for the new baby. Using the internet, Darlene learned as much as she could about raising a bird.

“I guess the Lord knew about this long before I even had a thought about it because for some reason I had started raising meal worms about a year ago. That, of course, was the number one food source of this little baby, that had to be fed every hour.”

And thus the process began.

Carefully stowed in a basket of towels for warmth, Lucky the bird began to grow. Soon her tiny basket was too small and a large box became her home, all the while Darlene fed her around the clock.

“As the temperatures warmed and she grew a little, I gradually started taking her outside a little at a time. I was wondering how I was going to teach her how to eat on her own. I was her only mommy. She was big enough to begin eating out of my hand.”

Darlene said the little bird began to be adventurous. At first she would only sit with Darlene on a bench under a tree but gradually found a route to her shoulder and sat there, viewing the world with the protection of her “mommy.”

“I asked my husband to take an old mailbox and make her a home,” Darlene said. “We put it up in a tree, hoping that she might stay in it at night once she was ready to be on her own. It took a lot of persuasion to get him to do it, but he did. Lucky finally grew on him too. I painted the name “Lucky’s House” on the sides of the mailbox. She would sit on the lid, but she never slept in it.”

The Pyrdums let Lucky come and go as she pleased around the house. According to Darlene, the bird had a set time to eat each day, three times a day, having outgrown the continual feedings. She was gradually left outside and allowed to find her way in life without her mommy.

Just as Darlene had found that tapping taught the bird to eat, she also found ways to help her learn to fly.

“I had to be her teacher,” said Darlene. “I took that responsibility and was very proud when she finally flew around the yard. At first she stayed very close to the house and always returned to eat. I would look out and she was be sitting on the back of the bench we enjoyed with her, waiting on her meal worms.”

It didn’t take long for Lucky the Mockingbird to truly spread her wings and fly.

“We noticed by mid-summer that she was getting later in coming back each day,”

Darlene said. “By the tenth week, on a Saturday morning, she didn’t come for breakfast. We looked for her all day to come. Finally late that afternoon, I heard a faint chirp like Lucky’s.”

Hoping that the bird had returned to the “nest,” Darlene looked into a neighbor’s tree and saw the little bird sitting there, among her new friends and family.

“She had made friends,” said the proud ‘mom,’ “with friends of her same breed. I knew that this time would come for her, but only God knew when that time would be.”

Mother Nature soon replaced Darlene, and the little bird joined its peers. Healthy and happy, the little bird that fell from the sky, returned to fly there.

“She gave us joy,” said Darlene of the bird who hasn’t returned to their home. The Pyrdums see several mockingbirds each day and have a feeling that a particular one is their grown up winged friend.

Like the biblical story of Joseph, what was perhaps done by unkind siblings had a purpose that only God could discern.

“If she was pushed out of her nest, I’m sure, in her way, she thanked them,” Darlene said. “She got to live the life of a queen as a bird named Lucky.”