I found a wounded bird yesterday.
A girlfriend and I had met for a walk. I’d started at the off-leash so Beaumont wouldn’t feel too constrained walking for an hour on-leash. We headed east, along the path that winds its way along the river, my friend and I chatting and catching up. Beaumont walking beside us (between tugs on the leash). We walked about forty-five minutes in one direction before turning around to walk back to our starting point.
It was then that we spied the bird. Its tiny red and black feathered body lying in the middle of the sidewalk. Shivering. Barely breathing. Almost still.
We couldn’t leave her so I used one of Beau’s bags to gently pick her up and cradle her in my hands. I could feel her tiny heart beating fast. She was alive.
So we kept walking back to our cars in the hope that she was simply stunned by an encounter with another bird or perhaps a car.
As we walked, I kept breathing on her while my girlfriend held Beau’s leash.
As we walked, I whispered words of encouragement and hope over her tiny, inert body.
I pray for you wings to fly free. I pray for you blue sky days. And whether you body recovers and you flutter your wings or take your last breath dreaming of flight, know that you are held in hands full of Love.
Step. Breathe warm air onto her body. Step. Breathe warm air onto her body.
A walking prayer.
She still wasn’t moving by the time we got back to our cars so I tucked her gently onto the front passenger seat, ensured the seat warmer was on and Beau and I drove home.
At home, C.C. found a box for her. I lay my electric heating pad in the bottom, covered it with a towel and carefully removed the plastic bag I’d carried her in while I placed her on the warm bed we’d made.
As she settled into the nest she opened her eyes and looked at me. She wasn’t shivering any more. She just wasn’t moving very much.
I waited awhile to see if her strength returned. She moved around a bit but never tried to spread her wings.
As I’ve done in the past when I’ve found wounded wildlife, I called the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conversation (AWIC) for guidance. They rescue injured and orphaned wildlife throughout the province and provide professional care to support the rehabilitation and release of all rescued wildlife. During the day, they have volunteers who will come and pick up the animals, but, if there are no volunteers available, they have a network of vets in the city where you can take the animal for care until AIWC can pick it up in the morning.
Always, whenever I’ve called AWIC, the volunteer at the end of the line has been kind, helpful, caring.
Always, the experience has reminded me of the importance of taking care of one another.
Birdsong, watching the songbirds hop about in the bushes and trees in our backyard, spying them sitting on branches as I walk, always brings me joy. It’s as if the birds know we humans need their song and presence to lift our spirits.
We need to take care of the birds.
We found a wounded bird yesterday. I carried her in my hands and breathed warm air onto her almost weightless body,
She reminded me of how easy it is to take care of one another. How sharing a smile, a kind word, a gentle gesture eases the burden for those who have fallen along life’s paths.
I do not know if that bird will fly again or if she will gain her angel’s wings. I do know the songs she sang, the joy she brought into this world is a gift of nature that matters to our world.
Whether she takes to the skies again or gains her angel wings, I am grateful for our time together. She reminded me of the need to always walk gentle of heart, connected to nature.
Learning to live in harmony with nature is critical to the survival of our species. Living in harmony begins with taking care of one another.
We found a wounded bird yesterday. Her song was silent. Her wings still.
In our brief time together she reminded me of the need to care for one another. She reminded me that there is power in prayer.
And in that encounter, I am reminded of the constancy of my mother’s prayers. Tomorrow marks one year since my mother took her last breath. As I sit in the silence of the morning, as I walk in the woods, along the river, on busy city streets, I hear her whispered incantations showering me with care. They rustle in my heart like a sweet, gentle birdsong filling the air with Love.