Sometimes, things just work out.
Today, instead of going straight home after work, I stopped at two stores to pick up some things I really need. That’s something I’ve rarely done. Because of that, I arrived home much later than usual.
As I was pulling into my driveway, I noticed something in the busy road to my left. I realized it was a dead bird. For some reason, I didn’t want to leave it there to get run over. As soon as I put my things in the house, I went back out for the bird. I grabbed a candy wrapper that someone left on our grass to use to pick up the bird. I didn’t really want to touch a dead bird, but didn’t have time to look for something else to use. I had to wait a minute until it was safe to run out there – the bird was close to the center line in the middle of traffic. I picked up the bird and then was trying to figure out where to put it. I decided to take it to the backyard to put in the trash.
As I was walking, I looked at it. I think it was a female cardinal. As I looked at it, I noticed it was actually breathing. It was breathing shallowly, but it was breathing! I quickly went back in the house and yelled for my husband to get me a wet paper towel. He wondered why, but did as I asked. He met me in the hallway, and I showed him the bird as I wrapped it in the wet paper towel. Since we have two cats, we took the bird up to our room. We got a box, an old towel, a tiny plastic spoon, and a little measuring cup of water. I volunteered part time in a wildlife center back in the 90s, and I’m happy I remembered some of the things I learned there. I figured one problem was that the bird was too hot, and probably dehydrated from being on the hot pavement.
We put the towel in the box and placed the bird gently on it. Then I used the teeny, tiny plastic spoon to give the bird a little bit of water. We were very excited that it moved its beak to drink the water. It seemed to perk up a little. We turned the light off and went downstairs to let it calm down. One thing I remember is that birds can die from too much stress, and I also know that being around humans stresses birds.
About a half hour later, we went to check on the bird, and saw the tail was sticking up. I wasn’t sure exactly why it was doing that, but we were happy it was alive and seemed to have moved a little. I decided to use a t-shirt to pick it up to try to see if it was injured. It let out a loud squawk and tried to bite me. I was very excited, because then I knew it had a decent chance of survival. I put the shirt over the box and we took it outside, into the back yard. As soon as I moved the shirt to check on it, it flew out of the box and perched on a tree branch. My husband caught it on video.
The bird stayed in the tree for a few minutes, and then flew away, out of sight. We were very excited to have saved the bird. Even if it did manage to poop on the shirt before it got away!