Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mighty Struggle

Thunk. A fledgling tufted titmouse fell at our feet in the grass. Had it crashed into the swingpost? All at once it was there on the ground, wings spread akimbo, lungs heaving, beak opening and closing, tufted head turning, black eyes staring. Its back and chest and head were fluffy and gray.

Moe and I had been watching the housewrens from the swing after supper. Now we watched this little bird's terrible struggle. It made no sound, but I did---gasps of pity. Many thoughts spun, all ending with what shall we do. Too late to call vet---can't leave it to founder and die---must put it out of misery---how? Moe suggested we scoop it up and return it to its nest. Where is nest? For days an adult pair of tufted titmice has been coming to the yard for mulberries, indicating a nearby nest, but never divulging its location.

Our crooked little bird continued to struggle as Moe and I discussed the options. With two mighty heaves, it lifted, spread, and folded one wing, then the other. This looked hopeful. It straightened its neck, shivered, sat upright for a few seconds, and flew. Little wings flapped like crazy, effecting slow progress through the air, encouraged by our cheers. I imagine the poor thing's shock when it hit that swingpost, and wonder at its recovery. Or was it pushed from its nest? dkm

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