Sunday, January 15, 2006

Saved a cowbird and a bird story

With gale force winds still blowing the 3 inches of snow we got last night (the local tv weather persons really missed this forecast!) I reluctantly trudged out to fill the bird feeders. As I was filling the feeders I noticed a cowbird caught in our vegetable garden deer fence. The material for the fence is a 1 inch square opening plastic netting and the bird got caught in a double fold of the material. I thought the bird was dead but when I approached, it's head moved so I had to rescue it even though I don't like cowbirds very much for their habit of removing other birds' eggs and leaving their own to be hatched and raised by the unwitting owner of the nest. Unfortunately the owners of the nest tend to be songbirds like warblers so I was even more hesitant about setting this bird free. But because of an incident many years ago as a young boy, I had to free the bird. I pulled out my trusty trim trio pocket knife/file/screwdriver which is the most small and handy tool I've ever owned and set to work cutting the netting. Unfortunately I also cut my now frozen and numb thumb which didn't endear me to the bird but it seemed grateful enough when released and promptly flew off surprisingly not the worst for wear. So I did my good deed for today bloody thumb and all.

When I was about 10 years of age, practically every kid I knew had a bb gun or two. My parents thought it was too dangerous for me to have one and being rather poor it was a frivolous purchase. I mean a Daisy bb gun cost about $7.99 plus another 50 cents or so for the bbs. So of course I couldn't pass up the chance when a friend was willing to sell me an old gun-which someone had hacked the front sight off-for 50 cents including a few bbs that were already in the gun. I managed to scrape up the 50 cents and I had the gun. We immediately went hunting for birds since I wanted to test the gun even w/o the front sight. We were in some low woods when I spotted a bird that looked like a white eyed vireo, sighted it the best I could without the front sight and pulled the trigger. Much to my delight and amazement I hit the bird and saw it fall from the brach on which it was perched. I rushed over and dug around the brush, finally spotted it and picked it up feeling flush and elated. As I more closely examined it I found where the bullet entered but when I looked at the closed eye I was suddenly hit with a sense of shame and remorse. Here was something so alive flitting from branch to branch and suddenly so dead. Such a perfect little beautiful thing and I killed it. What a waste. I don't know why I I was so overcome by the event. I never used the gun again and just let it rust hidden in the garage storeroom. So it seems I have to try to save any bird even a stinko cowbird in trouble to attone for my stupidity so long ago.


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