My feather-finding of the last year or so has escalated. Now I’m finding birds (or maybe they’re finding me).
On Friday, just after I returned from an appointment, leaving our front door ajar, our neighbor called out to say there was a duck in the carport! The duck, a female Mallard, was an unusual sight in that spot, as we are on a fairly busy corner with a steady flow of traffic going by, and no creeks or ponds nearby. Although she didn’t seem injured, it soon became clear that she couldn’t fly well at all, lifting off and landing a few feet away.
Eventually the Marin Humane Society came and managed to capture the duck and take her to WildCare, a San Rafael nonprofit whose mission is to advocate for wildlife for a sustainable world, and who actively pursues this mission through nature education, wildlife rehabilitation and community outreach.
On Tuesday Rem called and learned that “our” duck had a misaligned wing and couldn’t fly. She is in a pond at their site with another Mallard and under observation.
Update: We learned the duck had a fracture at the end of her wing, in the “wrist” but is healing well and regaining strength.
Yesterday I left my building after work and found a little fledgling swallow on the pavement. There are light fixtures in the outdoor ceiling of the entryway and I’d noticed sparrows swooping in and out of them. I guess this little bird had tried to fly just a little bit too early and had made a rough landing. She was hunched on the ground with both wings partially outspread. Rem was waiting in a parking lot, down one level, and I called down to him. He helped carry my things so I could hold the tiny bird.
As I started towards the stairs, an adult bird cheeped from her nest, up in the light fixture. My little rescue bird peeped feebly in response. I felt terrible taking the baby away but it seemed injured and I knew the mama couldn’t get it back up to the nest and I felt sure it would not be able to survive on the ground. I was hoping to give it a chance at making it.
We went to WildCare and they confirmed that the little bird, a Violet-green Swallow, had a broken left wing and perhaps injury to her chest. I was relieved when they said I’d done the right thing to bring her in. She was going to be put into foster care as swallows are insectivores and need feeding every 30 minutes from dawn to dusk! Talk about dedicated volunteers! We hope she’ll recover and be released back into the wild.
Update: Sadly, we learned today (7/22) that the swallow died as a result of his or her injuries.
I made a thank you card for the dedicated and hard working staff and volunteers at WildCare.
Our little juvenile doesn’t have the colorful markings that adults do. Her feathers were several shades of grey with a white face. This picture of an adult male shows beautiful violet and green markings.
Last night, at my Threshold Choir rehearsal, I learned a song from our repertoire that was new to me, called Help Her Fly. It was written by choir member, Helen Greenspan, writing to her teenaged daughter. It seemed appropriate in light of the little swallow I’d found. I sang the song with the little fledgling on my mind. Here are the lyrics:
Help me love her. Help me free her. Help her fly, her own wings to hold her safe in her flight. Safe through the night.
Thanks for stopping by.