While in South Dakota, Brian and Emily's vehicle accidentally struck this lovely - kingfisher? - and injured it. They brought it back to the ranch and made a little nest for it next to the stream. It hopped around for a day or so, but after two days and nights of cool temperatures, Brian found the bird dead, hunkered between a rock and some weeds on the ground, not far from where they left it.
We also never saw the baby cardinals again. The day after that post, an afternoon storm came which was so torrential that it is hard to imagine any above-ground creature the size of a lightbulb surviving it.
I'd love to make some sense of these sad events, just as I still try to make sense of my failure with the chickens. But this is what I can see: Emily keeps hoping, with each new creature, that she can "save" it, or at least influence its life for the good. Nature may be red in tooth, claw and feather, and Emily may still be an exuberant 8 year old, but she can also be gentle, and still. I suspect animals have a strong place in her future, and I look forward to watching her.