The day before my birthday, we discovered a Bronzed Grackle chick under the porch.  Sadly, he was discovered after I'd doused him with the hose.

Chilled to his core, he wouldn't have lasted the night. So to the deck table he went, and BH took a walk to the local gas station to purchase some live bait.

He did well with them, obediently opening his mouth and raising a ruckus once the chopped worm came into his view.  He also accepted some water droplets from my hand. Still, the chill remained despite his pushing into my palm for comfort.

I set him in a box with some old dishrags, then brought him indoors for the night.  A heating pad under the box soon made him comfy, and he slept well enough.  At dawn, I brought him back outdoors and set the box in the garden, close to where I found him.

He wasn't too sure of himself or his surroundings. I left him there and watched the early morning fog burn away.

Grackles do spend a few days on the ground after dropping from the nest. They seek cover, only making noise when they sense a shadow passing above them.  This fellow seemed disinterested in everything. But then...

... soft chirps from across the yard. They came from the back flower bed.  I noticed a female grackle drop down for a moment, then take flight again. 

I went to investigate and found our chick's nestmate. Might as well reunite them!

The mother soon returned to peer at the pair, then flew off again in search of food.

She fed both chicks equally, and I called it a day.  BH and I spotted the pair off and on over the next day or so, plump and happy.

Sadly, it was the neighbor's cats that sealed their fate. These infuriating, flea-infested animals are given the roam of the entire neighborhood. They kill everything from birds to mice to beneficial insects.

Despite the chicks' noble attempts to hide, both succumbed to the predators. Our foundling was discovered one evening, inches from where I had placed his box - neck snapped and lying under a daylily cluster. Its twin turned up the next day, spine broken and body crumpled behind our garbage cans. It broke my heart.  The mother grackle continued to call to them for another day or so, then gave up.

Yes, nature plays out. The circle of life and all. But it was a senseless killing done for the cat's amusement rather dietary benefit. I truly loathe these two creatures.