Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Unexpected Guest

It almost never fails that when I’m trying desperately to get something done, the proverbial fly lands in the ointment.

On Sunday, it was in the form of an unexpected guest. This one had two legs, but also two wings, feathers and a thin coat of down. It was a juvenile robin. Not a baby, but one who was very close to venturing forth on its own. I discovered it quite by accident.

As I was putting out some laundry late Sunday morning, birds were everywhere, many diligently drilling into the soft ground, pulling up worms. I spied another busy at work in my neighbors’ yard, near their pine tree. As I got closer though, it didn’t seem like he was drilling at all. He was flopping around wildly and falling over.

When I got to him, he was on his back. When I righted him, he tried diligently to stand up but promptly fell onto his side. Uh-oh. There he lay, helpless in the sun, open to bugs, the heat and predators. I quickly retrieved a box from the basement.

We have had our share of baby birds at This D*mn House over the years (as well as bunnies, kittens and mice). I know when one is diseased. This one was not. I still donned a latex glove as a precaution but I didn’t see anything that made me think this little guy could pass something on. Instead, it appeared that his entire left side was injured somehow, though there was no sign of damage. It appeared to affect both his left leg and wing, and also his neck as he could not hold his head upright. A neck injury maybe?

Maybe he had flown into my neighbors’ house or garage? It was really windy Sunday. Perhaps in one of its maiden flights, the wind had thrown it off course. Its mother was nearby along with a sibling of similar size who was following her around, shrieking to be fed, occasionally making its own awkward flights to spots not that far off the ground. I hated to upset her but I knew at this point, I could do more for him than she could.

With the help of one of Ozzie’s old syringes, I got a few drops of water into him. I carefully fed him tiny bits of wetted chicken. He eagerly ate, occasionally flipping the food out of his mouth. I wrapped some old rags in paper towels and tried to prop him up in a way that he could be comfortable enough to rest, but the poor thing never could quite get comfortable.

The mother says that it is not always our mission to save; many time it is just to comfort. Such was the case here. A few days of comfort with a bit of food, in a warm, safe place. Unfortunately, that was all I could provide. He could not be fixed.

Our little guest left us around six last night. Seems he was finally able to get comfortable, having gone on to the most loving care of all. Fly on, little one. Fly on.

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