|Pine Warbler 20110311 (Photo credit: Kenneth Cole Schneider)|
The weather is gloomy, rain comes in showers, thunder now barely audible as it travels West. Thud, thud. What was that? I swung around and stepped to the large, glass, double-door in my office. It has to be a bird!
On the ground, a tiny figure with colorful feathers lies motionless. The cat! Where’s Charlie? Inside. That’s good. Main Coons are great hunters. Lucky for my feathered friend it was raining. Coons—all cats—prefer dry homes to wet forests.
One wing is spread open as it covers most of the bird. As I pick it up, its heart beats rapidly and delicately against my palm.
I coo, “Are you okay?” No answer—what did I expect? Around me a dozen or more ‘yellow’ birds hover and flit from branch to branch. “Your friend flew into my window. I’m so sorry.”
|A painful head.|
It silently opens and closes its beak. Its eyes do the same. It must have a painful head. I cover the poor bird with both hands as a precaution for panic or another fall. What can I do? The other birds are calling to their friend. I’ll help your friend! I’ll ice her little head to stop any swelling. Maybe that will help. Stay, don’t go away, we’ll be back. I step inside with the bird as Charlie steps outdoors. The bird doesn’t move. But she (I feel it is a she) is still alive. She opens her beak. Gasping?
My free hand rummages through the freezer, I settle for a small bag of ground coffee. It’s very cold, perfect as an ice pack for the bird’s head. After about a minute, I remove the pack and make my way back to the door. Oh darn! The others have gone. Did they give up on her? The bird opened its eyes wide and seemed to be recovering. I try my hand at bird calls. “Tweet. Tweet?” I can hear them in the distance. Are they watching? I open my hand a little more. The bird becomes excited and panics. I close my hand a bit and whisper, “It’s okay.” As I pat her feathers and head, she relaxes. I slowly open my palm again, she adjusts her foot, perhaps to be comfortable. Such tiny feet! Does she feel safe inside my hand, which provides a familiar cover from the elements?
After several minutes, the bird sits and is more alert. She watches my other hand as it moves. A mosquito finds my arm, she cocks her head to watch it bite. With a breath, I blow it away but it returns. I bring the bird’s beak to the mosquito to possibly feed her. Nothing happens. The mosquito is annoyed and leaves.
It is about fifteen minutes since the incident. I must either cage the bird or return it to nature. Perhaps a tree limb, away from Charlie. The cat! He is still outside! It has begun to drizzle again—he’ll come. I call, “Charlie! Kitty come.”
Good, old Charlie comes running, unaware—I think—of the bird in my grasp. I step out, shut the door and whisper to my friend. I reach up high with palm open. She sits. “What’s the matter Felicia? Felicia means happy. You are a happy, little bird, able to fly thousands of miles with your friends. Felicia it is! So. Felicia, will you sit in the crook of this limb?” I gently move her tiny feet. I reach up high again to encourage her to climb into the pine tree.
|I go now.|
Felicia suddenly and smoothly glides downward into the brush four feet in front of me. She is hidden by a blackberry bush and small saplings. I reach for my camera. As I stoop and focus, she busily scratches under her wing, flits back and forth on the branch, looks at me, then at the ground. She jumps into the deep of ground cover and away from my lens. No picture—can’t complain. We spent over fifteen minutes sharing a crisis, a moment and a recovery.
I hope Felicia will be okay. Will she find her friends? Can she call out to them? Not sure.
Take care Felicia. Come again on your next migration. Next time, a gentle tap, tap will do.
Inside, Charlie naps as I Google ‘yellow breast’ + ‘birds’. There it is! A pine warbler! And it is female! I knew it. That’s my Felicia!