Thursday, August 2, 2012

A sparrow story

This little guy was soaked from a torrential rainfall; his feathers were so wet that he was unable to fly away as quickly as he would normally be able to. And that's when my cat went over and snatched him, right before my eyes. Fortunately, I was able to quickly grab her and then the sparrow. 

Now, I am well aware of the damage that cats do to our songbird population and I take great pains to prevent their wreaking this havoc.  My cats are heavily belled and carefully supervised. They are not "outdoor" cats. I kept them inside the entire month of June to protect the turkey poults that live here.

It was my fault that the sparrow was hurt. I should have waited to find out what "that strange object" was before letting my cat out at the worst possible moment. 

With regret and resignation, I immediately began to tend to the sparrow, wrapping him loosely in a microfiber dishtowel to keep him warm and help absorb some water from his feathers. I fed him a bit of water from a syringe and then I just let him rest in the windowsill where I hoped the voices of his fellow sparrows might comfort him. Later, I took him into the kitchen and set him down on the table, placing a large mesh pasta strainer over him in the little towel nest I had made. Tall and wide, it worked perfectly as a protective cage and allowed me to keep an eye on him while I did some dishes. 

He looked so poorly and breathed so heavily, I did not expect him to survive, but felt better knowing he could die in a peaceful and warm environment. 

Next thing I knew, he was hopping inside the mesh strainer, ready to go! He had recovered from the shock. It had only taken about 45 minutes. With my cats locked safely inside, I took him out and put him down on the ground exactly where I found him and waited. He got his bearings and then flew up into a nearby tree.

Even though he seemed to make a miraculous recovery, I am just going to wait and see. Birds are like that. They can look terrible and surprise you with a complete recovery, or they can look strong and resilient at midnight and be cold and dead by morning. 

This little sparrow was very courageous and left me feeling hopeful and inspired. His eyes were busy and alert the whole time I cared for him, a very good sign. Of course, the trust of a sparrow or any wild being is always a gift of faith, grace and yes, love.  

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