Whilst on my morning trek through my backyard this morning, I carried the jug of warm water and an old plastic cereal container filled three quarters full with wild bird seed. My usual approach was about seventy-five feet from the kitchen door to the pan of yesterday’s water and then a few more feet to the feeder.
Upon my approach, I espied what appeared to be a tiny bird, half eaten. Only the back portion had been spared. We have some pretty hungry hawks and some mean starlings that attack the smaller birds, by cruel pecking or devouring the poor little innocents. Sometimes the pigeons are attacked and unfortunately, I have witnessed this happening before my very eyes. I abhor it.
When I reached the water pan, I saw the soft breast, wing and tail feathers ruffled by he brisk cold wind. The closer I got to the feeder the more I tried to focus my eyes to understand what I was seeing.
Was that movement? The thought of dealing with an injured, partially broken or eaten bird was not what I wanted to deal with, but undaunted I moved quickly forward. There was movement!
Now, I must let you know that there are some holes in the ground. Sometimes made by some of the neighborhood moles and sometimes by the rains. The small bird was sticking half-way out of the hole. It’s little derrière was wiggling ever so slightly. I deducted there might be a mole or snake trying to pull the little bird down into it’s lair.
This propelled me into gently pinching the soft light gray tail feathers in-between my thumb and forefinger. Gently but hurriedly I eased the darling out of the hole. To my delight there was no mole struggling to hold on to the front of the bird. Thank goodness.
Was the bird injured? A quick cursory appraisal led me to believe that without any evidence of blood, there was a good chance it was still fine. Suddenly, the tiny bird fluttered it’s wings and looked at me startled. Mostly because the wind was blowing right into the bird’s face. My fingers open automatically letting go.
The bird fluttered away and then back around me. The flight reminded me of a much younger bird whence it has newly learned to fly. Circling about me, I took this time to pour the seed into and onto the feeder. The remaining half, I spread on the ground underneath. This portion was to feed the much larger birds.
Stepping back four to five feet put me next to the water pan. I dumped the frigid water out and poured the warm water in, after resettling the pan into the depressed ground. Everything has its place.
By this time, this cute baby was perched atop the bird feeder eyeing me … sleepily. All this rush of adrenaline only to awaken a tiny bird. Apparently the little thing got tired searching the ground for food, found a warm spot and crawled half-way in, only to fall asleep and take a nap.
In the meantime, the power lines and a nearby tree was filling up with chattering tweets and peeps. Their cacophony was certainly sounding concerned to see what the giant was going to do to their little friend. No doubt they were shouting suggestions for the bird to get out of there, to hurry up and fly away. They had after all witnessed me touching the bird’s tail. Humans were not supposed to get that close.
My small diner kept eating and glancing into my eyes, so I decided to coo and say sweet words. I sang a song and sent up a prayer to Saint Francis and God to watch over this one especially, because it was so small and looked like a baby. With a full belly, the little bird flew away and I returned to the house feeling peaceful and wearing a smile.
It’s the small things in life which leave a profound footprint on our hearts. Remember: Don’t eat the daisies, stop and smell the roses and pull tiny birds from holes in the ground. Life is good.