But then the bird moved! It was not dead after all, but it was only barely moving. Eleanor dropped her school bag and coat and rushed into the house, sobbing for help.
Over the next few hours, the baby bird began stirring more and more. Eleanor named it Frederick. Frederick was not hurt, only dazed, and confused. He didn't like being put down and would panic unless someone was holding him. Eleanor took the bird to a Wildlife Officer who lived around the corner and got some expert advice on taking care of a wild baby bird.
By the end of the day, it was clear that Frederick needed feedings about every hour. The sun finally set and Frederick, Eleanor, and Eleanor's mom were exhausted. Frederick slept soundly on a hand-made nest in his cage (thanks to Eleanor, her sister Charlotte, and their friend Sadia).
Frederick got better and better at eating off the spoon, and within a few days he was eating seeds mixed with the rice formula. The first day, he could only hop/fly a few feet. By day three, when Eleanor and her siblings Sam, Charlotte and Oliver took him outside, he was flying into the trees - but he couldn't seem to get down. He'd stay in the tree and chirp, chirp, chirp until someone offered him a hand to stand on and get him down. More than anything, he loved to stand with his feet wrapped around someone's finger while being fed. Many of the children's friends came to meet Frederick, and he was never shy or scared.
The time came to release him back into the wild - he'd been with Eleanor for about four days. His cage was set outside with a stick propping the door open, and Frederick placed on the stick. He didn't move. He made no attempt to fly away, but sat there chirping, eating (the spoon was taped on the stick with food on it) or sleeping. After more than hour, Eleanor and her mom watched as another finch (maybe his mother or sibling) came and fluttered around him. It had come to get him - the bird was beckoning Frederick to follow. Frederick flew with the bird into a nearby tree, then sat there for another half-hour or so by himself as the other bird flew off. Then Frederick flew off toward the sounds of the other bird's chirping. Following Frederick, Eleanor's family watched as he flew up into trees at the neighbor's yard. There, following Frederick's chirps and the chirps of his family, Eleanor's brothers climbed the trees and found Frederick's nest. He was home.