Best Birthday Gift
This is a short post about something that happened to me that touched me deeply. It was probably the best birthday gift a human could have. I hope it resonates with you too!
Flurry of Goldfinch Activity
When I got downstairs yesterday morning (my 58th birthday) the goldfinches were already hard at work on the sunflower chip feeder just outside our sliding glass door. They were engaged in the usual fussing and fighting. I had all four seed ports full with others waiting on the nearby chain. I’ve always tried to follow the best distance guidelines for feeders. This chip feeder was less than two feet away from our door. This has proven to be a safe distance so far.
My wife and I were enjoying their follies while watching Flea Market Flip. We could hear their sweet singing and nagging. They were really going through that stuff.
Then The Thud
Every birder who feeds birds knows that sound. Hearing the little guys brushing up against the glass while they jockey for position is NOT that sound. In the case of bigger birds trying to escape a hawk it can sound like a hammer strike on the wall.
This thud was pretty close to that. It immediately got our attention.
How Are You Little Guy?
I jumped up and looked through the door. It wasn’t until I got really close that I could see the male goldfinch dazed and leaning up against the door. I was sure he was seriously injured if not dead already. I could see one of his little legs was not symmetrical. He was breathing but that was about all I could tell. His eyes were only half open. Not good so far.
Off I went and grabbed my gardening gloves. Then outside to see if I could pick him up carefully. He was still not moving very much.
Signs of Progress
In a few minutes, I was able to get him to perch on one of my fingers using his own strength. This was a big relief to me but I knew we weren’t out of the woods yet.
Just Talk To Him
As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, I realize that being held by a human is not a desirable position for a bird. He was just starting to move around and I wanted to be sure not to startle him. Didn’t want him jumping off my hand before he was ready to do so. So I started a low and slow speech pattern where I told him he was going to be ok. Then I asked him how he was doing even if that sounds silly. I think the constant sound is very soothing to them while they’re figuring out what just happened.
Even More Alert
Eventually, he was looking all around. He made sure to stop and stare at me. I’m a believer in the energy that all living creatures can share if they’re open to it. I also think animals just know if you mean them harm. He was asking me what happened, who was I and why was I holding him. I let him know he had a little accident and I was helping him get better. I told him he’d be flying off very soon and how happy I was that he was ok.
You probably think I’m a kook at this point. However, I know he took the time to look into my soul and thank me for helping him. I told him it was my pleasure and I would gladly do it again.
Are you starting to feel why this was the best birthday gift?
Okay, I’ve Got To Go
Not long after that exchange, he was looking around everywhere, listening and finally picked a branch to fly to. His departure was strong and his flight path was sturdy. He WOULD be ok!
There are statistics that say even if they fly away they may die from the traumatic brain injury many sustain in window collisions. I can say firsthand that there are almost always signs if they are not going to get through an accident. Irregular flight, uncertainty about landing. Those kinds of things. This guy was zipping from tree to tree and back to the feeder before I knew it.
My wife swears he came by later and was looking in the window for me. I’m sure I’ll get to see him when I feed the birds later today.
Have You Been Touched In This Way?
I know I’m not alone here. Anybody who’s been feeding birds for any length of time has gone through this life and death ordeal. Most of the time, unfortunately, the outcome is not good. Good or bad, leave me a comment and share your experiences below.
For me, this was the best birthday gift I could have had this year. Thank you, God!
PS-My apology to you. Unfortunately, these things just happen too quickly. I was more worried about helping him than finding my phone and getting it on video. My wife thought about this but she said I had my back to her the entire time. Neither of us wanted to scare him just to get the perfect shot, you know?
But I’m still sorry I wasn’t able to get anything to let you see what was happening. It was truly magical.