I was walking to the store this morning when I saw something strange, an itty-bitty little figure hunched against/ underneath the step up to the door. Upon closer examination it was a fledgling bird – probably a sparrow – that was shivering (shuddering) uncontrollably and just sopping wet.
(I should mention for non-Oregonians that we’ve been suffering an ongoing, rather epic, thunderstorm the past couple of days.)
I put my bag and coat down inside the door and went back to see if it was still there or if it had been frightened off by the big human and… nope, it was still there. As I crouched down to check on it, the poor thing just stared up at me pitifully with these huge black eyes. Sooo, I went and grabbed Kristin – coworker and co-owner of Ford Farms – to get her help. I figured a skilled farm-person would be safer to attempt picking up a baby bird.
We got a towel, wrapped him (or her) up, and s/he didn’t even fuss. S/he must have been half frozen and going into torpor. We dried him off (well, Kristin did, I was afraid of squishing it), and I set up a giant clear Tupperware box with towels and crushed up crackers (Kristin’s idea). Then I microwaved another towel, because the birdie clearly wasn’t producing much body heat, and draped it over him/ her/ it – yes, those are burn marks on the towel, bad me, but birdie warmed up:
S/he was pretty pathetic for a little while (we were worried and called Audubon), but after about an hour it started squirming a bit and responding to us (turning its head to look at us). By that time, Kristin got a hold of the Audubon help line and, well, they were pretty cavalier. They told us to “put it in a high place, like a tree”. (Yes, even sopping wet and shivering.) “This is how they learn to fly.”
Right, in the middle of a torrential downpour. Got it. We bravely decided, inexperienced bird rescuers though we were, to try something slightly different than what the experts suggested.
Anyway. It turned out it was a fledgling, upon examination, as it still had pin-feathers! Then, when I opened the lid to put the cracker crumbs in the box, it opened its mouth… expecting some regurgitated worms, I guess (uck). By 11-ish, after several other coworkers showed up (and were rather intrigued by the situation), the fledgling was quite invigorated and hopping around inside the box and even pecking at the walls when it saw one of us (maybe it wanted food?).
Once ‘the teenager’ was dry (or drier, s/he was still damp), Kristin and a customer and I took him/her/it outside and placed the box on the customer’s car (it was the highest place we could find) and took the lid off. After a minute, the little guy wobbled out and did a pretty decent first (second?) flight and went straight to the nearest tree. We were so excited. Kristin called us silly (including herself in this), but it was really nice to have a rescue attempt work out.
Our final conclusion was that s/he probably got blown out of the nest during the storm late last night or early this morning and was too young/ cold/ water-logged to get back. After a rest in a warm, dry place and some food (half the crack crumbs were gone), s/he was right as rain :)
So. All this made me muse a bit. Humans are funny creatures. We’ll go out of our way to save the young of other species, no matter how unrelated they are. Heck, I would have tried to rescue an adult bird. Though there would have been a significantly higher chance of pecking with an adult than a juvenile.
Even more interesting, none of my coworkers thought I was crazy. Sandy even offered to drive the poor thing up to Audubon if it didn’t improve by noon. And none of us expected the bird to appreciate it. In fact, we didn’t want it to bond with us, for its own good. Humans are so… interesting.
Or, maybe knitters are nuts. In a good way, obviously. I certainly felt much more cheerful today than I have in a long while. Baby birds are good for that, I guess. Hmm.
In non-‘aaawwww’ news, I have tomorrow off, only to work again on Sunday. Gonna be great, woo. We (IT Guy and I) have to do a database rebuild… or else. I don’t want to contemplate how much worse the glitches will get if we don’t. So. Cirque de Soleil tomorrow afternoon (fingers crossed), and then… woo, comp’ fun. What an exciting weekend, eh?
At least we’re going to Kristin’s farm on Monday for the photoshoot. That’ll be awesome – and there’s a new calf to admire. Wow, lots of animal news tonight, huh? I suppose I could include Charlie’s vet update, but that’d be overkill. I’ll try and do something knitterly tomorrow, honest.
Until next time, keep an eye out for baby birds!