Monday, November 25, 2013

I gave her the bird, literally

What a day.  Convalescing and housebound, with just me and Walter and the birds, lazy day in front of the television with not much going on, just chillin'.

Then the bird hit the window, a big one making a loud thud.  I went to look and saw a female pine grosbeak down in the snow, knocked silly. This happens once in a while and they usually sit there for a minute or two, gather their wits and fly off.  Not so with this one and so I worried and finally went  out, gathered it up and brought it into the house.  I found a way to confine it  and let it warm up but wasn't sure what to do beyond that.
In the picture the bird looks red, like a male, but in real life she was
more of an orange color, definitely female.

I messaged a bird-knowledgeable friend but she wasn't online, so I put a post on an Alaska birding bulletin board called akbirding@yahoogroups to see if anyone knew what could be done.  I joined that group last winter during the invasion of the redpolls. What I was told was that about all I could do is what I was already doing, keep it warm, let it wake up and when it was lively let it go. What is amazing is the number of responses that came back to me.  A dozen people at least responded, all of whom had pretty much the same advice which was what I was already doing.

When I saw the bird standing with her head up I tried to put her outside.  I picked her out of the cooler and she perched on my finger and stayed there. I gently guided her to the top of the wood pile hoping she would fly off, but when she did she just fluttered to the ground.  Not good.  I tried to catch her but she flopped along in the snow into the woods then stopped and I realized I was just stressing her with the chase, and, too, trying to discourage a very curious Walter. 

A few minutes later I went back out and collected her and brought her back inside where she now sits in a cooler with a screen over the top.  I am not optimistic now and I don't want to let her go after dark for the neighbors' cats to have a meal. 

Then as I was trying to figure out what to do next, I received a message from Chris Maack at the Bird Treatment & Learning Center in Anchorage.  I had already received a note about taking the bird there, but the one out where I live isn't accepting injured birds and the TLC is 50 miles away in Anchorage. It doesn't help that part of my convalescence prevents me from driving a car because jerking my neck around could cause serious problems.

Then someone came up with a solution. Someone who volunteers at the center lives near here and can stop on her way home to pick up the bird.  She hoped to be here around 10 after she and her daughter who was returning from college took in a movie first.

Meanwhile about the time the arrangements were being made I had to face a crisis of personal identity. Just coming on TV at the moment, Lady Gaga was due on the Ellen show and the Monday Night Football game was about to start. Not saying which one I chose, but as a hint, the game goes on for two and a half more hours while there was only half an hour of Gaga with Ellen. And, San Francisco won, so, do the math.

Meanwhile the night went on and a little later I  heard from the woman volunteer from TLC and said she was leaving Anchorage and would pick the bird up on her way home about 10 p.m. or so.

The conclusion: As of 10:30 p.m. the woman had stopped by and I gave her the bird which is now on her way to TLC.  By the time she left, the bird was pretty scrappy, squawking and flapping around, so she might make it. Anyway, my work here is done, except to hang the warnings in the windows for them so it doesn't happen again.

Pine grosbeak

1 comment:

  1. Checked the blog to see how you and Walter were doing and hope the grosbeak will do well, too. Heartwarming post, Tim.

    Jerrianne

    ReplyDelete

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