Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rescuing a Towhee Chick


 
Found this little towhee fledgling scurrying up the driveway like a mouse


A bird in hand is worth...? I found this little towhee fledgling scurrying up the driveway like a mouse. I was going to head out to do some shopping. I completely forgot to do my errands, as I played nursemaid to this chick. No milk, no TP.


No tail feathers, a suggestion of wings, orange ass coming in nicely.

Note to feather-brained self: don't jump from the nest until your feathers have fully fledged. He was reunited with his ma in the lemon tree. Lots of squawking going down. They had much to say to each other. I'm sure scolding was involved.

Are you calling me cheep? Cheep? Why I oughta...

 S/he's been playing Marco Polo with the parental-unit in the lemon tree all afternoon. Mother bird barks a shrill militant "Marco," and her offspring dutifully answers with a melodious "Polo"—somewhat like a raven's secret warble song.

Insert Beatles song here: "She's leaving home..." Methinks s/he will be spending the might alone in the tree. S/e was eating bugs earlier, preening, simultaneously stretching both leg and wing at the same time, like a very small ballerina dancing to Swan Lake on a branch.


Um, you're not my mother. Emits an ungawdly squawk of protest.


Maw, come back! Feed me. I'm so very hungry.

ENVOI: Two days later, on Bastille Day, when I finally got around to running my errands, I heard the towhee calling her one-note song. And no answering warble from her wayward chick. The yard felt emptier than usual. Sad to say, I found the chick, or his brother, squashed in the driveway, the salmon-painted curbs, insurmountable as the Grand Canyon to one so small.

She's hopping up and down the driveway, bobbing and weaving like someone at the Wailing Wall, she keeps calling out to him, he no longer answers, he lies so near her in the garden above the curb, but she can't see him, can't smell him. Meanwhile the ants begin their grim work, transforming the chick into another iteration of the self.

I don't think it was me who ran over the young bird, rigor mortis had set in.It may have been another bird, but I think not. I went back and checked, I was feeling so bad.... So, despite my best intentions, I guess I didn't interrupt its karma, I merely changed its delivery date. Then I got the news about Nice. It all fell into place and became a poem.



DEATH OF A SONGBIRD, BASTILLE DAY

 

No comments: