Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's a bird! It's a...okay, yeah, it's a bird.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting right here at my computer, as usual, when Jekyll the cat came in to tell me something. He was very insistent, so I got up and followed him to the bathroom across the hall.

There he had left me a little gift, a house finch (maybe a purple finch? I can't tell the difference) he had caught. It wasn't dead, which put me in a terrible position. I mean, yes, cats kill little animals and birds; it's just one of those things they do, although Jekyll hasn't shown any skill at it until now. And yes, it was sweet that he had brought it inside to give to me. But it wasn't dead. And it was fluttering around pathetically in the bathroom, trying to fly away, and Jekyll was showing every sign of wanting to play with it some more.

I scooped the bird up and took it outside, and sat next to it for a few minutes to see if it would recover or die. It sat there, refusing to stop breathing. I thought about leaving it there, but I knew another critter would just come along and kill it if I did. So I went inside, got one of the cat's little bowls (irony!) and half-filled it with some oat seeds that I bought to grow so the cat has greens to nibble on. Then I went back out, caught the terrified bird, and plopped him in the bowl to use as a nest.

I left him shut in my room for about an hour. I fully expected him to be dead when I returned. But when I checked on him...he was gone. Vanished in a small bedroom. It took me a good twenty minutes to find him hiding behind the curtain. I returned him to the bowl/nest and went out to buy a cage.

Thirty bucks later, the bird was in a nice little temporary cage with finch seed and water and deep bedding made of ground-up corncobs (although I probably should have just used newspaper; the corncob stuff is already everywhere). I draped a very sheer scarf over the cage to make him feel more secure without smothering him, and went to bed (cat shut out of the room, of course; he was not happy).

The bird was still alive this morning and ate some of the seed. So maybe he'll survive. I've never had any luck nursing injured birds back to health, though. They always die. I think this one has a broken tailbone and one of his legs may be injured too. He can only hitch around awkwardly, can't stand properly, and can't fly properly. His wings appear uninjured, though. If he makes it through a week, I think I can keep him alive until his tail mends. I'll keep everyone posted.

Oh, and Jekyll...geez, I dunno what to do with him. Catching mice, yes, I want him to do that. Birds, no. Hopefully this was a fluke.


Richard said...

This is SO our entire childhood, starting right over again. :)

K.C. Shaw said...

Yup. :) Remember the baby mice I rescued? Every single one of them lived, unlike all the birds I tried to save.

Richard said...

Ah, but the important thing about the birds is that you tried. I'm such a callous ass; I would've just left them all and said, "well, there's nature at work right there."

Ash-Matic said...

There's a whole microcosm in your post - of life and nature and the somewhat-unnatural position we humans find ourselves in, divorced from that by our own rational, conscious, empathic and not always instinct-driven nature.

I hope the bird flies free soon.

K.C. Shaw said...

Richard--I probably should have.

Ash--Yeah, I feel responsible for the bird because my distant ancestors domesticated the cat. The weight of history is on my shoulders!

Richard said...

How's the bird doing?

K.C. Shaw said...

Well, he was alive last time I checked, around 2pm. But not doing well. I'll go check now.


He's lying on his back breathing hard. I've been gently righting him when he can't get up, but he gets so frightened when I touch him that I don't think I'll do it this time. I think this is the end. And I plan to sleep on the damn couch tonight so I don't have to move his cage off my bed (where I put it in the window during the day). I suspect he'll be gone by morning. Poor little thing.