My Friend, the Bird

My Friend, the Bird

     This story starts out on a beautiful July morning. I was moving the cars around to allow me to get my son Cameron out and off to work. Cameron is in a wheelchair and needs to leave by way of a ramp we built in the garage. So, each morning I need to move the cars around to allow him to leave.

     Upon Cameron’s departure, I went back into the house to get my briefcase and lunch. On my way back to get into the van I encountered a bird on the grass next to the driveway. He (or she) was obviously severely injured.  The bird was not able to fly and walked with great difficulty. I actually stopped and spoke to the bird and wished
him well. He hobbled off towards one of our bushes for cover.

     Well, my wife Jeanne has a special affinity for birds, especially Robins and I thought that he might be a robin. In any case, I called her on my way to work and told her about the bird I had encountered in the driveway.

     Later in the afternoon, upon her return from work, she called me and explained that she did not see the bird that morning, but that bird was now in our garage near the garbage can eating some maggots that had fallen on the ground, you know the ones that form in the plastic garbage cans on those hot, muggy summer days. She went on to tell me that she got a really good look at it and that his head was actually upside down and almost on the ground. So, I’m pretty sure his neck is broken or something along those lines. Jeanne thought that maybe it was some sort of birth defect or something, but I doubt that bird could have survived to adulthood in that condition. In any case, he seemingly ended up here with us.

     Now that I’ve mentioned the maggots, the day before my first encounter with the bird I was engaged in an age old battle with the maggots. They are truly amazing creatures, my plan was to get as many onto the garage floor as possible and then use my shop broom to sweep them down the driveway into the sun where they would
meet their demise. Well that was my plan, but they had a plan of their own. I sweep hundreds of them down the driveway. Then, to my amazement, I watched as they did precision military marching maneuvers and then headed back towards the garage. It was like hundreds of zombies heading back to that spot in the garage, even
though the garbage can was no longer there. There was no stopping them, I would sweep them back over and over again, but they keep on coming. Finally, the first line of soldiers reached the edge where the driveway and the entrance to garage meet. Well, much to my surprise and joy, they were not able to negotiate the gap. They
were just disappearing into the crack. So, I watched for a few minutes as the second and third lines accepted the same fait, then I went back to what I was doing on the side of the garage. A few minutes later, I came around the corner and found a flock of birds having a feast in the driveway. In just those few minutes, those birds got just about every one of those maggots.

     At this point I am not sure what was more amazing, the birds or the maggots. In any case, I was thankful that the birds were so helpful in this case, although I do realize that their main reason for eating the maggots was not to help me. I was just stunned on how quickly they became aware of the maggots and were able to mount the attack. They just wiped them out.

     Back to my Bird story; upon my return home from work, I found the bird in the garage near the garbage can. He to must have heard about the maggots (perhaps from the other birds talking etc … ) and wanted in on the action. So, he was cleaning up any scraps he could find and there were a few that were still falling from the lid when we would open it.  Now I’m getting a real close up look at this bird and it was amazing, his head is pretty much upside down with the top of his head resting on the ground.  When he walks, he raises the head as much as he can.  Call me crazy,
but the bird looks at me with that upside down eye, he does not appear to be
afraid of us, in fact he seems to wish to have our company.
  I guess the thing that gets to me most is, how alone he is.   He is not able to fly, sing and he can barely move at all.  The other birds totally have abandoned him, he is obviously on his own and destined to die or be eaten by some predator, yet he continues the mission, alone and with dignity.

     I then talk to the bird again.  I explain that he cannot stay in the garage
and then I go back to my project on the other side of the garage.  By the way at this point I have left the van out in the driveway, because Jeanne did not want to move the other car and disturb our friend.   Now as I am working, I observe the bird leaving the garage as I had asked him to do.  He makes his way to the van where he
seemingly makes camp under the van.  Obviously, he was using the van as shelter (cover) from the hawks.  As the evening went on, he stayed under the van, all alone and keeping that eye on me.  Once in a while I would take a break and go talk to him.  I even found a few maggots and brought them over to him along with some water from the hose.  He ate, drank and stayed put under that van.

     Well I must admit, my little friend the bird really got to me.  Now here I am working on the side of my garage and I’m crying like a baby.  Thank goodness my neighbor never comes out of the house.

     Eventually, it is time to call it a day and head back in.  I left the van out in the driveway with a small flat container of water under it for the bird.  I was hoping for a miracle, maybe, just maybe by morning he would be able to fly and make his way back to wherever home is.  But, realistically I was thinking that something would get him over night. 

     In the morning, as we were getting Cameron ready for work, I kept looking out in the driveway, under the van.   I did not see any sign of him and I was glad thinking that, one way or another he had moved on.  But, when I actually went out to get in the van, low and behold he was still there, perched up against the front of the
right rear tire, starring up at me with that eye.  I wondered if he was asking me to run him over.  I told him I could NOT do that and that he was going to have to move.  So I
moved closer to him and he did move towards the center of the van, I then started the van and slowly pulled it out of the driveway.  As I began to pull away I looked back just to make sure I didn’t run him over.  A littler later, Jeanne called me as she was leaving for work.  The bird was still in the driveway as she left.  He gave her the eye as she was leaving also.  Hopefully our friend will move on by the time we get back home. 

     Just goes to show you that you never know when you’re going to encounter a profound experience.  I have had a few, more than my share, and I doubt that I will ever forget my friend the Bird.

Fidmon (2013)