Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fly little Bird

So a story from what happened to me yesterday...
I was sitting at my desk at work the other day, it was around 12pm or so. I had the radio down low, like I usually do just as background noise, and I'm working on my computer. The back door was open downstairs and one of the windows upstairs was cracked a bit for some fresh air. When I start to hear a bird calling. It was a sound I'd never heard before. Kind of a loud squawk like sound. As I leave my "zone" of working, I start to try and listen to the bird and try to identify it. I can't. Then, I realize there are a bunch of other birds chirping loudly and angrily. Hmm... Odd. So Then I think, maybe it's a hawk or owl, and all the smaller birds are raising a fuss to scare them off (I've seen this with mocking birds chasing a crow, or hawk). Then I hear the squawking again and realize it's a distress call. So, now I have to know what's going on outside in the back yard. I go downstairs and stand at the screen door. We have a bird feeder about 20 feet away that hangs from one of the tree branches. Sure enough, there is a big commotion going on in the trees with the smaller birds all yelling. Then I see the focus of their attention... A larger black bird (which I later looked up and identified as a Grackle [wikipedia]), is sitting on the ground with a wing extended out like it was hurt. I start to feel pity for the thing. It then starts banging it's head into the ground, and flaps it's wing a bit. Odd. I can understand a hurt wing, but why bang it's head into the ground. Something's not right here. So I open the door and go down the steps to see what's going on (I thought maybe there was a cat after the hurt bird?), as I approach, the Grackle see's me but doesn't really fly off, or make an attempt to flee. I take a few more steps closer, and the grackle then hops off... and I see what all the commotion is about! Here, under the Grackle, was a small sparrow. The Grackle was sitting on top of it, and pecking into it's neck area! I had no idea a bird would be that violent! (I later learned that Grackles are Ominvores, and will eat other birds!) So, I shoo the Grackle away, and walk over to the sparrow. I stoop down and see it's still breathing, quickly, but obviously not in good shape. My heart goes out to the poor thing. It probably is in shock, or on it's last leg (so to speak). So, I think, the least I can do is make it comfortable for it's final moments. I go back inside, and get a small cardboard box. I go back out, and take a twig (Birds can carry diseases so I didn't want to touch it, if I didn't have to, plus I saw small amounts of blood). I try to gently push roll the sparrow into the box, as I do, the sparrow wakens breifly long enough to grab the little twig with his one foot. I was amazed at the strength in it's tiny foot. I get the bird into the box, and leave him grabbing the stick.
At this point, I wanted to achieve two things... One, to get this small bird off the ground. I knew it'd be a matter of time until the ants found it, and would start to pick it apart (dead or alive). The second was that I wanted to move it in case the grackle came back looking for it. So I placed the box off to the side, on top of one of the air conditioning units, to get it up off the ground. The sparrow is just laying on its side now.
Well, there is not much I can do for it now other than to let it rest.
A little time goes by, and a few times now I start to come out and check to see how he's doing (I don't know if it was a he or she). The first few times I look, nothing, just laying there breathing. Then I checked again, and was thrilled to see him standing! Still in the box, and just staring at the blank wall, but still, he was UP. My hopes are raised, that maybe he'll make it now?
I go back inside and eat my lunch.
After lunch, I check again... Much to my surprise and delight, I see he's now sitting on the flap of the box! But, then the wind starts to pick up, and I see the flap start to move in the wind, and I see that the sparrow is still a bit wobbly. I am now afraid that because I lifted him up high on the air conditioner, that if he were to fall now, it would be another shock to him. So, I go out, and slowly approach the box. I can see his one eye is almost shut completely, but then I see him blinking at me. There was a moment of panic in it's eye, but I guess he was too tired or weak to respond. So I slowly lift the box, and start to gently lower it to the ground. I get about half way down, when all of a sudden, he takes flight, and flys about 20 feet away! YES!! I could tell, his flight was a struggle, and he didn't go into a tree branch, but just to know that he is able to fly again, is a huge improvement! So I watch him for a little while, and I don't approach him anymore so as not to scare him. Instead, I head back inside feeling like he's on the mend.
About an hour or so goes by, and I look out again... this time... he's gone.
Part of me wonders if he was just under a bush or something, but the larger part of me likes to think that he finally got enough of his strength and wits about him to make a flight to a safer place.
I came inside, glad and happy, that because I responded to a squawk, I gave that little sparrow a second chance in life.
Two comments now since this was a rather long story...
This was probably my best day ever at work.
I've also been pondering ever since... I am amazed that here we have two creatures... one a small tiny flying thing with feathers, the other a large lump of a thing, with skin and hair. These two creatures are SO far apart in their makeup and their thinking. Yet... something about the way that bird squawked that caught my attention. That made my ears perk up, and then realize it was a call of distress. The big lump of a creature could still understand the cries of another creature needing help. Something to think about...
I told this story (in a shorter version) to my mom (who taught me about birds, and who I credit with my enjoyment of birds) and she responded back with this poem. I think is AWESOME!

fly, little bird; fly!
be safe in the sky.
a rest was best
a box; loving care
and off to the air!
fly, little bird; FLY!

Sad Edit: So today (Friday), I leave the office back door, and walk down the steps, and to my surprise and horror... a single wing of a sparrow with fresh blood. :(
It was as if someone left it right there where I was sure to find it.
Obviously, I couldn't tell if it was the same bird or not, but either way, it was not something I wanted to see. Stupid Grackles! Go pick on a crow or something. They just made my list of least favorite bird.

1 comment:

JWD said...

So sad! Sorry, dear brother. Still, the kindness you showed the other day made the world a better place...