Saturday, November 26, 2005

When woodcocks fall from the sky

This morning, I was in my home office, checking my email, when I heard a big thud on the front porch. I looked out the window, thinking a squirrel had experienced a clumsy moment trying to attach itself to a bird feeder, but what I saw instead was the rarely observed American woodcock. Apparently, it had fallen from the roof. The bird didn't move, though when we went outside, it took a few steps. But then it kind of froze, allowing me to get very close. The next step, of course, was to take it to the bird rehab place, so we prepared a lined carrier for the trip. The woodcock then walked onto the grass, where I wanted to take another photo in order to get some contrast. But then there was a flapping of wings and a shrill goodbye, and off it flew. The fall stunned it, but it recovered nicely.

Several years ago, on Good Friday, I came home from a mesmerizing, multi-colored exhibit of Haitian art to find a painted bunting on our front porch. Unfortunately, it was dead; our best guess was that it had tried to fly through the glass window. I have never seen another one.

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My neighbor had a dead tree that a screech owl owned. EVery evening, I could see her coming out of her hole and then flying off. A couple of years ago, the poor thing or maybe it was one of her children, flew into the side of a pole, well that's what I thought happened. I heard it flapping around, it's wing was broken. My neighbor and I took her to the vet and he set her wing. We checked the tree where her hole was and there were little owl chicks. We called the game and fish people, they came and rescued the chicks, and took them to the vet where the mom was and later, they were all brought back to the tree. I was surprised that they survived, the babies I mean. But they did. Now I live in a townhouse and on my patio on occassion, I see cardinals and a few thrashers and that's about it. I miss living in the country.

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