I wrote a while back about the squirrels outside my window (the nest seems to be quite done, and Mr. Squirrel is simply waiting for Ms. Right to show up). In that blog, I mentioned a hermit thrush. I love these little, solitary birds, with their white and brown speckled breasts and big dark eyes. I love the way they stand on a branch, really eyeballing a berry, and then flash fly to the berry, pick and eat it, and return to the branch so fast, you can barely imagine anything has happened.
On Monday, I went up to get the mail and then came down the stairs, only to hear a thwap and thunk. There, on the front deck, was a hermit thrush. The poor thing must have hit the kitchen window, and was now dazed, possibly in shock.
So I did what my mother taught me to do. In the house I grew up in in Orinda, there was an enormous window in the living room. Invariably, we'd return home from an outing only to find a robin or a towhee or a sparrow on the front patio. We'd grab a tea towel, gently scoop up the poor bird, and put it in a shoe box. Then we'd take the bird inside and put the box in a quiet place, and usually, the bird would recover, flutter a little, and we could take the box outside, unwrap the bird, and it would fly off.
But when this did not happen--when the injury was too great or the bird too young to fly--we would head out to the Lindsey Wildlife Museum. At the hospital there, the nice volunteers would take our towhee or robin or sparrow (once a band tailed pigeon) and nurse it back to health. We could even call for updates on the bird's condition. And my mother would often donate a little money to this very useful cause. I mean, the relief! We had no clue what to do with these birds, and here were people--many people--who did. We didn't have to watch the bird die. We didn't have to throw the dead body away in the trash--for sometimes, there wasn't always a happy ending to the bird story.
Back when I was a child, they used to even let us "rent" an animal for a week. We'd take home rats and mice and once a chinchilla, who got loose in the house and hid anywhere it could. Jumpy, jumpy, jumpy. But, oh, it was soft! I think they've smartly stopped that program, though I still appreciate being able to have a guinea pig or rabbit for a week.
The good news for my hermit thrush is that when I went into my office after twenty minutes and cracked open the shoe box, it had stopped panting and its eye was clear and bright and dark. Even better, when I took the box outside and opened it, freeing the bird from the towel, it flew, up and away and over the house.
Below is the URL for the Lindsey Wildlife Museum. Check it out. It could save a bird's life!
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org