Friday, June 11, 2010

Baby Bird

Last night I was leaving the YWCA. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed something along the cracks of the sidewalk that caught my attention. I felt compelled to stop for some reason, focus in and take a good look. Three baby birds. Young enough that there were no feathers; they must have been knocked out of their nest by some outside force. One was barely identifiable anymore. It appeared it had been smaller than the others to begin with and may have been gone longer. The largest of the three had clearly impacted its head on the pavement when it fell or been victim to a less attentive pedestrian. I was crouching there, paying my respects when I detect movement from the one that lay in between the two that were clearly dead.

My thoughts raced. What could I do to save this helpless thing? I very quickly realized I could very likely do nothing. It was getting cold and the cool damp air indicated that rain would be coming soon. the elements would finish it off, and out of the nest, if it's mother was alive I seemed to remember reading or hearing somewhere that young birds that had left the nest would not be recognized by the mother as her own and would be ignored or thrown back out. I know this is definitely the case if another animal [like a human] has handled the bird. Not that I could find the nest when I scanned for it anyhow. It wouldn't be anywhere I could access.

Really what could I do? It was a tiny frail bird. It isn't as though I could take it home and try and nurse it back to health. Even if I felt confident I knew how to do so it would be a major investment of time, that was unavailable to me and I was fairly certain I lacked the proper equipment to keep the bird warm, safe and fed. To say nothing of the impossibility of protecting it from my cats were they to notice and take an interest in it. I also considered the factor that it could be a carrier of bacteria of some kind and that interacting with it [without protective wear] too closely could put myself or somebody else at risk. Then of course the fact that it was a wild non-domesticated animal.

I still felt compelled to do something though. I improvised a set of tongs and a litter out of some of the landscaping wood chips outside of the Y. I used them to lift it up and positioned the bird in a flower pot with no plant life yet in it, used my makeshift wood tools to build up some dirt around it to provide additional heat and protection from wind and then spread more landscaping wood around for further insulation and protection against rain. I probably did nothing beyond divert my life for five or ten minutes. But there is a chance. There's a chance it had enough cover and insulation in that flower pot to protect it from the elements and from predators. There's a chance that there was sufficient plant and animal matter (small insects) hiding in and around that makeshift shelter that the bird could keep it's strength up and keep going a little while longer. There's a chance that it could survive at least long enough to grow feathers, to open its eyes and too fly. It is very likely impossible, but there is a chance. I did all I could think to.

I walked away from there on my way to a couple of errands I needed to do on the way home, and by the time I had washed my hands I forgot all about it for the evening. I remembered today when I was trying to think of what to write about today though. I care about animals. I care about the weak and the vulnerable.

I am certain that I want to be a veterinarian.

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