Monday, January 18, 2010

Painted Birds vs Real Birds

I wasn't going to post anything else until I finished the edit. And I'm so close. So close. But over the weekend a traumatic event sent me into a tail spin. Right there, in my driveway, near the garage door, a bird rested on its side on the wet pavement. I made a stealthy approach, easing up along the side of the car and peering down. It didn't move.

It looked dead. I danced around the garage, flapping my arms and trying to control the "Eeeeaak". A glance up the driveway showed only a few brown leaves fluttering at the edges. I hoped to see a stray salesman or wildlife ranger. Pursing my lips, I tip toed over to the snow shovel leaning against a shelf. I hate having to remove dead creatures, and wondered if I could just leave it there until it returned to dust. Judging the distance from the tires of my car and the line of travel I'd have to take, I'd have to remove it unless I wanted a new bookmark.

So I approached the little gray bird, its wings covered with raindrops, and cooed to it. I slipped the blade of the shovel under and bird rolled forward off the shovel. His other wing was gone. No where to be seen. What must the little bird have suffered to have lost its wing and landed in front of my garage?

I tried again to scoop him up. He rolled off. By now tears slid down my cheeks, accompanied by a set of horrified shivers. We played out the scene; shovel, roll, shovel, roll until we reached the grass at the edge. With him finally balanced on the blade, I carried him over to the hillside and flung him into the bracken. I tell myself it is better than being put in a plastic garbage can. On the hillside he can provide a home for a host of tiny creatures and eventually become one with the soil.

I said good-bye to him, carried the shovel back and drove away in silence.

The picture was painted by my sister, Dale, and given to me for Christmas. It does not look like the wingless bird on the hillside, but it is in commemoration of him that I post the painting.


  1. Oh, poor things, both of you!
    My wife is just the same, she gets positively spongy with animals in distress. Late last summer our 15-year old cat completely inexpectedly caught a litte bird similar to the one in the painting when patrolling our tiny balcony. He proudly dragged it in and presented it to my wife who immediately squeaked for help.
    The bird, thanks God, wasn't dead or seriously hurt and tweeted away, hiding behind books in the bookshelf and other places, with the cat still on the prowl.
    It took me the best part of half an hour to finally grab hold of the poor bird. I went out to the balcony and opened my hand, and it flew happily off.

    I hope that helps. There are good endings. :)

  2. HUGS!!! I hate to see small critters dead especially birds. A few years back we had birds flying into the windows at the office, it was horrible! That's a very nice way to think about him as well..he might be dead but his gift to the world lives on. And that's a beautiful picture your sister painted!

  3. Jenku,

    Thank you for saving the bird and your wife's feelings. And I know the cat thought he was doing something wonderful, but is it all right if I say EEEEEeiiiiiiooouuuuu?

  4. NWFoodie

    Thanks for your comment. I hope the bird appreciates his perch on the hillside. I probably wouldn't have been so upset if not for the missing wing, causing my imagination to take flight with all sorts of gruesome scenarios.

  5. Eeks! Sorry you had to endure that and poor bird!

  6. Truly, I cannot even read the newspaper or watch the news without big, salty tears. I'm a whimp. I need to toughen up!

  7. Hi Melanie. I've left a little something for you in my blog :)

  8. Wendy,

    Oh my gosh. You've given me an award. Now I'll have to figure out how to post it here. Thanks so much!!!!

  9. Perhaps I should say the above painting can be viewed without flash washing and with proper cropping at


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