Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Small Miracle & a New Friend

A couple of nights ago I was in my office and I heard a squawking. How odd, I thought. What creature would be squawking at 11 pm?

I opened the door to find Harlie, our black and white killer, under my office window and I figured I'd then find the squawker, which I assumed was a mouse. Wrong. It was a bird. Oh swell. Don't know what kind. Not a baby, I think, though small, maybe a Sparrow? Wren? But it had no tail feathers at all. Which could mean that they were all plucked off by the Killer. (What is it with me and birds this year? Is there a Chinese Year of the Bird?)

It was standing upright when I picked it up. It got out of my hand, briefly, Harlie went after it, I grabbed it again and brought it inside to examine. It lay in the cupped palm of my hand on it's back. It's chest was heaving and there was what looked like a pretty good hole right in the middle of it. Swell. Just swell. If you've ever had the misfortune to watch a cat with it's prey, they usually give it one nice chomp. Not enough to kill it outright, just enough to slow it down so that it can be "played with." God. Well, I thought, I'll just sit here with it, and hold it tenderly 'til it breathes it's last. I really didn't think its "last" would take too long. The breathing got shallower and shallower, the chest no longer heaving in spasming gulps of air. I've held wee creatures in my hand that were dying before. If you own cats, it's bound to happen. And always it's heart wrenching. The little eyes were closed, it's little feet motionless. But it continued to breathe.

Sometimes, when I'm emotionally strong enough, and I think the animal is going to experience a long, slow, painful death, I will put it out of it's misery myself. Don't ask the various means I've used, they're all hideous but mercifully quick. But I haven't been too chipper of late and was not up to that task on this night. Rand suggested putting the creature in Pam's head, and I thought what better place to put it then in the little nest that had recently been vacated by a family of baby birds (see blog below). I considered taking a picture of it when it was in my palm, but it was all too depressing and I considered it rather dishonorable to do such a thing to the poor creature. That much of a ghoul I am not.

I got the step ladder out and climbed up to peer inside Pam's head, and the nest had a HUGE spider web in it. One of those really messy funnel webs made by one of those really LARGE funnel spiders? - wolf spiders I think they are. Husband handed me a stick and I gathered up the web like a wand of cotton candy and then gently laid the bird in the nest. It opened it's eyes and looked at me. Did it understand I was trying to be kind?

I prayed for the little creature but didn't hold out much hope. Had visions of climbing the ladder the next morning and finding it all limp necked, probably with some hideous eight-legged monster gnawing on the hole in it's middle. Very depressed I went to bed.

The next morning came and I couldn't face the consequences, because the images I had conjured in my brain were just to awful to confront first thing. So I asked Rand to look at the remains. He stepped up on the ladder and looked inside the head. Said he couldn't see it very well, to please get him the flashlight. I did so. He said he still couldn't see it. WHAT?!!! I practically thew him off the ladder and bound up there. Peered in and... NOTHING. Blessedly NOTHING was there! Just the empty nest. I cannot tell you how grateful I was. How it could have survived the night, I don't know. It was surely a little miracle.

Now my only fear is that I'll find it somewhere nearby on the ground under a bush. That maybe it had managed to fly just a bit but landed under my Mums or something. And maybe Harlie will catch it again. But then maybe God wanted this little fellow to live for a while longer yet.

One must keep the faith, eh?


On another note: another visitor stopped by the other day.


Dan said...

It's amazing the resiliency of these little animals sometimes. Not long ago a bird crashed into my picture window and fell smack down on the ground. I thought for sure it was dead. Unlike you, I didn't to and pick it up. I just watched it through the window. It laid there for the longest time. I stopped watching it and figured I would give it time to be sure it was good and dead before I went to dispose of it and when I went to get it a couple hours later -- it was gone! Amazing. Other birds that have slammed into my picture window did not fair quite so well.

As for the turtle. CUTE! Is the cat running AWAY from the turtle? Afraid of it?

Giulia said...

You bet he’s afraid of it. A little too weird to hang out with.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

That naughty cat. It appears the turtle showed HIM!