Cross-posted between Deviant Art and Blogger.
Some days I feel like “Shadsie Irwin.”
Yesterday evening, I went into work – for anyone who doesn’t already read me regularly, I work on a farm cleaning up after horses. I got a surprise.
There’s a big barn and a little barn and on a yearly basis (I’ve been working there for a couple of years now), springtime brings birds that like to nest in the big barn. I think they’re swifts, not entirely sure – they look reasonably like that family as illustrated in the Peterson’s Guide. There’s a pair that’s been taking a particular nest-building site inside the big barn that my guy, Bob, and I like to call “The Bickersons,” because they loudly argue. Drives the barncats nuts… Brave little things – they’ll swoop right by your head if you’re too close to their nest, dive-bomb the cats…
Apparently, the Bickersons’ brood from last year came back with them and a pair of young birds has been staking a claim in the little barn for the first time – right inside the doorway. There are lots of fly-paper and fly-sticks hung up there because the little barn is close to the Great Lord Smellypyle (manure heap) and gets things especially bad and especially early with the flies. So, I go into the little barn to take care of the couple of the stalls I’m in charge of cleaning there and I notice something odd about the orange, tubular fly-stick hanging from the ceiling… I thought it had a rather large bit of debris caught onto it from wind. I took a second look and it was a bird.
A bird was just stuck on there by the wings and tail. I looked up, thinking “poor dead thing, to die like that,” then to my resolute horror I saw its head move. It was still alive, the poor thing! I called Bob at his work, asked what could be done… tried to rouse my immediate supervisors who live on the farm, but they were out partying – it’s Saturday… wound up getting one of the neighbors who lived on the property to help me out. We took the fly stick down and gently pried the bird off. I set it down to see if it could fly and it couldn’t get off the ground. I scooped it up, just as Mr. Big, the multi-toed giant shorthaired barn cat came thundering up. Told the neighbor to get on his computer and Google wildlife rehabilitators. Called Bob again, holding the scared little swift.
It was close to quitting-time for Bobbert, so I waited, holding the little bird gently while he picked up some organic/non-toxic goo-gone and the kind of scentless, neutral dish soap people use on animals caught in oil spills. The bird was nice and calm for me – probably in shock. Its left claw had a death-grip on my thumb. The barncats were especially interested in me… And, so I started in on my work quite late because of birdy-rescue. Bob and I managed to get some of the goo out, but ultimately we wound up finding a box, putting some soft hay in it, and Bob took it to the local wildlife rehab while I did my job. Bob said the people there were going to keep her until her tail feathers grow back in – because the fly goo had just wrecked it. Her wings weren’t really all that bad. I’m hoping she hasn’t laid eggs yet because that means they’re pretty much doomed.
Then, for dinner, I had Dairy Queen chicken strips.