So… I haven’t wanted to talk about this until I knew how it would turn out. When it didn’t turn out good, I asked myself, should I blog about it at all? But, it was still a little story, an experience, so I want to blog about it. This little bird did not make it, so please keep that in mind if you want to continue reading.
On Thursday morning, as I was going down the stairs, I had an ungodly noise of something hitting the window glass. Like, a soccer ball or something. Scared the heck out of the cats. Of course being hurricane grade, the glass did not break. I went out to see what happened.
I was surprised to see a bird under the window, looking stone-dead. It was such a small bird for such a terrible noise. I should mention, birds flying into our windows is very unusual. In many years I never noticed it happen before.
Anyway, I stared, waiting to see some movement and praying I would not see any: with such a terribly hit, if the bird wasn’t dead it would be dying. As a child I accidentally dropped a baby hamster on a concrete floor, and I can tell you the effect that an impact of that sort has on a small animal is one such that you can never remove from your mind’s eye. In so many words, I did not want to trigger one of my worst childhood memories.
The bird did not move. I decided to leave the job to Christopher (very “nice” of me considering the bird’s body would endure the Florida heat for maybe six hours until he was able to clean it, but, you know, GROSS).
Two and a half hours later, I went to get my mattress when I noticed it delivered.
I wondered, did the body get taken away by a predator? But, no: I heard some crazy flapping behind my head, and the bird flew to the fence. It took me a few seconds to process my shock: the bird, on which I had checked just in case a few times during the aforementioned couple of hours, and it had NOT moved, was not only alive, not only walking, but was able to fly onto the fence. Even so, after being concussed and lying out cold for 2 hours, I knew, there is NO way this bird is okay. I tried to gently grab it and it dropped unceremoniously onto the other side.
So I went inside, grabbed a cloth, and then out to the yard. Gently, I coaxed the little bird to a corner, where I easily caught it as carefully as I could. I took it upstairs, where I prepared a cat crate with towels, water, seed, dried mealworms, and suet. Then I placed the bird in it, and set a camera on it so I could bother it as little as possible.
For the most part it hid from me, like this, at the very end:
Based on what I read online, my plan was to keep the bird for maybe 48 hours, and then see if it could fly, since it appeared to have no serious injuries (later it would become obvious that in my zeal not to bother the bird, I did not look anywhere near carefully enough).
By the next day, to my great joy, I saw the little guy drinking:
As well as eating:
I was completely elated. Surely if you are eating and drinking you will recover.
A couple of days later I decided it was time to see if the bird could fly. I did not want to get too attached and worried that, without access to insects, it could not heal as well. So we let it out inside the library and in a split second it flew onto a bookcase. Hooray!
But when we took it out, it could not fly. Also, an injury to the surface of one wing became more visible at this point, with some exposed flesh. You can see that area in the photo below:
By this point I knew I was out of my element, so we went to the only rescue near us who would take anything, even invasive species, they take anything that needs help. It was a good drive, a half hour away.
During this time, on which the photo above was taken, even in spite of the car ride the bird was eating. I felt so hopeful for it.
When I gave it to them, the first thing they mentioned was a terrible injury I somehow missed completely. Check out its legs in the photo below:
One leg is broken at the ankle. The bird dragged it. It looked so bad that one of the people at the rescue thought it might be a birth defect.
Still, the point was: can it perch? That, they said, was the key factor. It needed to perch in the wild. And I saw it perch, twice it managed to get on high places. Once on top of an IKEA shelf when I decided it was ok to release it, and before I caught it, it perched on the fence. But still they seemed to think this was a likely dealbreaker for the poor thing and it would have to be put down (it was for the vet to decide).
The vet took it to the back. Quickly, I was informed of serious internal bleeding in additional to the leg issue, and potentially having been attacked by a cat prior to hitting my window (a possible reason why it became disoriented and had that accident).
I was distraught. This little guy had been eating, drinking, seemed energetic. Surely, perhaps it could be rehabilitated for life in an aviary or sanctuary? It certainly seemed to want to live. I would have liked to give it my best shot in my own home of getting better. But that is legally not allowed.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand such laws exist for a reason and I was repeatedly told I did right by the bird in taking him there, but the bird doesn’t know about laws. It just has a desperate will to live, and I think it could have… It felt so unfair.
Still, it was an experience so I wanted to record it here. I’m sorry that it doesn’t have a happy ending. 😔