It’s As Natural As Birth
Every birder dreads it. You’re enjoying just sitting and watching your backyard friends feeding, playing and singing. And then, you spot it. Sitting on one of the arms of your feeder station: a little guy that seems quite unsure of what it’s doing there. You continue to watch but they don’t move. You walk out to the feeder and they make a feeble attempt to get away. You know at that moment that you are looking at a bird not long for this earth.
That’s what happened to me this past weekend and I’ve got to share it with you.
I was taking care of filling my feeders and almost missed her. Heading out my back door, I caught a quick glimpse of a small bird flying right toward me and then veering off at the last second to land on the side of my brick house. From there, she dropped down to the patio and I could see she was breathing heavily. I finished what I was doing and came back outside to see she had her head buried in her wing feathers for warmth. I walked right up to her and spoke and she obviously was unaware of me. That sick feeling immediately set in. It had been cold that day and was going to be colder tonight. I am not a licensed rehabilitator nor do I have the equipment or training to do that. I knew if I brought her inside in any type of container it was more likely to stress her out. I did not want that. I sent an email to a long-time birding expert and trained rehabilitator but did not get a response before I went to bed.
I know a lot of non-birding people would laugh at this but I couldn’t stop thinking about that little bird. When I took my dog out before bed I noticed she had gotten under a piece of wood for cover. Since it was supposed to snow a little that night, I felt better about her chances.
The Next Morning
When I went out early the next morning, all I could see was this…
Looking closer, I could see this…
We have hawks that make regular rounds but I’ve never known one to even bother with goldfinches. I thought maybe it was a cat but the feather pattern looked too much like the doves that get killed by the hawks.
I said a short prayer for her. I was struck by the feeling that, as cruel and harsh as it may seem, this was probably a much quicker and humane way to die than slowly suffocating. I wish I could have made her last hours more comfortable but I don’t believe I would have.
I’m going to stop writing for now. Please let me know how you’ve handled this in your own yard and how you found peace with it. Leave me a comment below.
Thank you for reading. I promise my posts will be much more uplifting in the future.