Monday, June 05, 2006

Wood Thrush Rescue, 1-0

Yesterday morning, I was upstairs at the computer when I heard a thud downstairs. I immediately yelled down to Baby Dog, since she is the cause of about 90% of my household thuds. Silence. The silence worried me. Usually when Baby Dog makes thud noises, barking follows. So I yell down to Ben, the cat who should have been named Total Destruction. Ben accounts for most of the remaining 10% of thud noises. More silence, which was also unusual, since Ben doesn’t normally stop whatever he’s doing when I yell at him.

So, I’m forced to go downstairs where I see all of the animals looking at the front door. So, since I’m no slouch in the brain department, that’s where I go. Before my story goes any further, some explanation is needed. My storm door currently is missing the glass/screen part of it, so there’s this big open area where that should be. My front door is mostly glass, with a curtain. So I open the front door and in the space between the main door and the storm door is a wood thrush that has apparently stunned itself by flying into the glass front door (despite the curtain that’s supposed to eliminate the reflection).

I pick up the wood thrush, holding it gently in my palm. Although these are decently-sized birds, they weigh almost nothing. Their legs are the size of toothpicks. Isn’t it amazing that these things fly from South America each year to nest in our eastern forests? This bird was an adult. Up close, the bird is even more beautiful than when I see them in the forest. It has large dark spots on its breast, and its back is this wonderful cinnamon color.

For a moment I consider running for the camera, but then I decide the poor bird has already had enough trauma for the day. It doesn’t need me holding it for an additional minute or two while I fiddle with the camera.

So I head outside, looking for a limb that’s in a safe spot to put it on. Although the bird looks fine, I want to make sure it can still perch. Birds who are so stunned that they can’t perch are really injured, and may well die even if they are in a safe spot, though some will still recover. If the bird can perch, even if it doesn’t move for a while, it has a decent chance. So I try to place the bird on my finger to see how it is, and it flies off, landing in a small tree perhaps 15-20 feet away. It is immediately joined by a second thrush, and the two fly off together in another few seconds. Rescue complete!

All told, the bird was in my hand for no more than 10-20 seconds, I’d guess, but what a magical few seconds that was. Those seconds stay with me all day, a gift of the forest.

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