I came upon the bird while walking home from the grocery last summer — something immediately drew my attention to it. For a brief moment I thought it may have died there in the middle of the pavement, but this concern was replaced by curiosity when I saw the bird blink. People were rushing by all around it, and it didn’t flinch… didn’t move. When a man in a wheelchair brushed by and hit its tail with little reaction, I knew something was wrong.
Panic came over me. I had to help this bird! — (A thought I questioned, briefly, knowing how odd it would look for me to take this bird from the sidewalk and into my home.) But I’m one to help rather than know I could have helped.
I knew I couldn’t carry the bird bare-handed, so I ran the two blocks home, down the long hallway to my 15th floor apartment, and all about the studio, grabbing gloves, a hand towel and an Adidas shoe box. I rushed back down to the street corner, convinced in my mind that I’d be finding the bird in terrible shape on the sidewalk, trampled or worse-off. But he was as I’d left him… still stunned and motionless.
A girl stopped and scowled at me as I put on the gloves, and gently placed the bird on the towel in the box. “He’s hurt,” I explained, as if she didn’t already know. This didn’t seem to ease her perception of what I was doing, but I didn’t much care.
I carried the bird, slow and steady, back to my apartment, and placed him on the bookshelf. I crumbled some crackers and put water in the cap of a soda bottle in next to him. He was breathing, blinking, but still didn’t move.
By this time I had some great help, watching over him more closely than I ever could:
I contacted an organization in the suburbs who cares for injured birds, and they could not send anyone for him until morning. They said that he needed medical care, but there was little I could do besides just give him a place to rest.
I checked on him frequently; he was alive, but still motionless. He seemed at peace, and I was quite fearful that when I’d wake the next morning, I’d have a dead bird in a box. Because he was dying… not because he could be mauled by the cat… I know what you’re thinking.
I placed him in the bathroom with the door shut, so my “helper” would let him be. And, I’ll admit, I put music on, softly, to keep him calm. Yes… I’m that cheesy.
Morning came, and I made my way to the box, gently lifting its lid … quite full of dread for what I’d find.
What I found was that a wild bird flying about one’s apartment is not easy to catch.
After catching first a cat, then a bird, I was able to hand him over to a bird sanctuary representative who, ironically, tripped and bashed his box into the side of her car. But, though very small and quite riddled with catastrophe, this resilient little bird was released into a forest preserve that very day, far from the city’s maze of glass windows which had likely done him in the day before.
This whole experience was just… moving. I got to save a life. Look for opportunities to help others. It’s, truly, the best feeling one can experience in a lifetime.