Yesterday morning, I spotted an injured bird on my street. Its wings looked fine, but it could only flap for a few feet and seemed to be favoring its right leg. As there are numerous dogs with “big bitey ends” around (one of which was chasing my bike when I noticed the bird), I set out for some midday bird-napping. As in kidnapping, not as in cat-napping. No naps were taken; the bird was.
This action was true to my upbringing; surely everyone in my family has tried (and failed) to rescue fallen baby birds. My mother occasionally brought home wounded animals… I remember a snake who’d been cut, a turtle with a cracked shell, and watching an impaired pigeon recuperate in our bathtub. I also recall the dead mole in the freezer and dried bat in a jar on the kitchen counter, but those are stories for another time.
Lacking a better idea, I parked the bird under the large tree in my front yard. Having better sense than me, it moved itself under a bush, then into a row of scruffy bushes for cover. I checked on the bird (who appeared to be a white-winged dove) every few hours, googled “how to care for a wounded bird,” and waited for Mr. Jaunty to come home so we could hatch a plan.
We brought Bird in for the night (’cause baby, it’s cold outside), making a nest of rags in the box from our vacuum cleaner. Mr. Jaunty looked up wildlife rehabilitation resources.
This morning, I called Mrs. B., a wildlife rehab volunteer whose number Mr. J. had found online. Alas! Not only had she left the field, it sounded like her whole organization was kaput. She recommended that I call the NM Department of Game and Fish. “They don’t do rehab,” she warned me, “but it’ll give him a place to go.” I wondered— did she mean “don’t do rehab” as in, “they will leave it in the forest as-is” or “they will club the bird with a stapler”? But would a former wildlife volunteer recommend someplace that couldn’t do me a lick of good?
Before hanging up, Mrs. B. said “Thank you for caring.”
Called the Dept. of G&F. The receptionist said they could take a wounded bird. Progress!
We bundled up, took a farewell picture, loaded Birdie into our old rat travel cage, and hit the road.
The Department of Game and Fish was… … filled with enormous hunting trophies. This did not inspire hope. Not that they’d stuff a common dove, but still. I counted seven large animal heads (rams, deer, some kind of antelope or oryx-y creature) plus an enormous stuffed cat of some kind— it didn’t look like the cougars or bobcats I’ve seen, but it was large and feline. Obviously, I know nothing of local wildlife. Or any other wildlife. Let’s get back to the story, hmm?
I gave the bird to a very polite, gentle man in uniform who said he’d spread its wings, check it out, and see what could be done. I let him keep the rat cage too, hoping that it would make Bird seem less inconvenient and perhaps more worth saving.
When I first saw Bird sitting in the road yesterday morning, I asked myself “Self, can you do any good here? Quadrillions of birds die every day. Why worry about this one?” The answer is somewhere between “because I’m a sucker for animals, so sue me” and “because I will likely live for thousands more days. Because I can buy food and shelter. Because while I am nebbish and maladroit for a human, next to this dove I am large, powerful and must at least attempt to use my mass and power for the betterment of someone somewhere.”
I will never know what happened to that bird, but at least I tried to help someone weaker than myself.
I don’t normally wear shoes at home, let alone boots, and I’m not much into scarves, but today my house is cold enough to call for both.
Nice action figure stance here.
Glasses - Derek Cardigan via coastalcontacts.com
Outer shirt - Tilt, second-hand
Skirt - Elevenses, second-hand
Scarf - Pierre Cardin via Tuesday Morning
Slutty Tights - Dollar Tree, self-dyed. Terrible quality, not recommended
Boots - Airwalk, second-hand
I spent several hundred years looking for the instructions for this scarf tie— I learned it from A. of Academichic, but I can’t find the post…I dug through the archives, I read their entire scarf-tying bibliography. Never found the post I wanted, but the instructions are also here. Simple and effective.
While it’s stuck in my head…
I choose the 1995 version over 1963 because I have a limited tolerance for Ann-Margaret’s singing…. which is awkward, since she adores mine.