A month ago, I was cursing the birds for eating my squash plants. I knew they’d be a problem once the produce emerged but I never thought they would just eat my green plants. Smarter birds would have realized the stems weren’t worms but no, I have to be surrounded by a bunch of idiot fowl.
So, I made my umpteenth trip to Lowe’s and bought some bird netting. I built a fence around the garden and draped bird netting over the top. Then I laughed maniacally at the birds. Apparently I don’t set enough goals in life if outsmarting birds brings me that much pleasure.
It was an entirely different feeling when I looked out and saw a bird caught in the netting today. Clearly not the smartest bird of the flock since the netting has been there for two months and this is the first time it’s happened, but I’m not without compassion, people. I threw on my shoes and ran out to rescue the little bird. I don’t know how long he had been struggling but the netting was wrapped into a tight twist around his foot. I ran back to the house for scissors. I thought it would be a battle to keep him still while I tried to gently cut the netting without taking off one of his toes, but he just lay still and took deep breaths while I worked. He flinched one time but I was working so intently it didn’t phase me. I don’t normally bond with animals but as he lay there and I worked diligently to free him, I thought about how he was going to be so grateful and as soon as I got him free, he’d skip around the yard and tell all the other birds what a good human I was and then they would all make a pact to not poo on my car anymore and maybe our story would be featured on the six o’clock news – because people love animal stories.
I wish it’d happened like that. I would have settled for him flapping toward my hair, or pelting my car as retribution for the netting. But as I was cutting away the last of the netting, as I finally got his little foot free, I noticed he was no longer breathing. He must have been trapped for the better part of the morning and the sun and heat, along with the struggle, drained the life out of him. I felt sad. And guilty. And regretful that I didn’t notice him earlier in the day. I apologized to him and had a brief moment where I just stared at his lifeless body. Then I scooped him up in my hand, trying to hide him from the other birds who were clearly watching me like hawks, and gave him a proper burial – in the trash can. I mean – I was sad and sorry but it’s a bird. A wild bird. I just can’t take the time out of my day to dig up my yard to bury a bird. Though I am worried the guys who collect our trash will start to wonder what kind of people we are. Last winter, we found a dead cat, frozen stiff, under our carport. I would have at least considered burying a cat. But Jon scooped it up with a shovel and dumped it in the trash can before I realized it. And my consideration of burying a cat ends when I have to dig it out of the trash.
Why do I tell you this? I guess because if you know us and you have pets, you probably shouldn’t leave them in our care. There seems to be a pattern emerging around our house.