Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Near Miss, A Life Lost, A Life Saved

There was a great deal of excitement at the house this morning! The yard was filled with birds and squirrels and suddenly, a very large, gray bird--not the same one that's been visiting my patio the past few weeks--smacked into my bedroom window. I think it was a hawk because it was gray with white markings and its tail fanned out. I was horrified by the thought that this large, beautiful creature might be injured. I ran out my bedroom door and a squirrel came around the corner and started up my pant leg, then ran back down! As I said, it was a very busy day!

The gray bird flew into the forest. I checked all over for feathers or blood on the window and ground, but there was none. Then suddenly, a Mockingbird flew up from the ivy beneath my bedroom window and into the tree just a few feet from my head. I could see that it was trembling. I checked it carefully, walking around it, to see if it was injured. It didn't appear to be injured, just very frightened.

I stood beside it for a long time. I think, for some reason, this brought the bird comfort. It must have sensed that the hawk wouldn't come back while I stood outside. The Mockingbird stayed by my bedroom window at least an hour. I was greatly relieved when it finally calmed itself enough to fly away. The Mockingbirds don't usually hang out at the food dish. They prefer to sit in the trees. The hawk must have been chasing it for some distance. I was surprised that it knew to seek safety at the house.

I strung shiny ribbons and colored feathers across the picture windows today to prevent bird strikes--sometimes, particularly during mating season, the birds see their own reflection and attack the windows. Sometimes the windows reflect the trees and the birds fly into the glass and injure themselves.

I was looking out the window of the guest room when I noticed one of my precious grapevine sparrows on the windowsill, dead from a strike. I was heartbroken. I gathered her up with tissues, a small prayer card and some seed, and buried her beneath the wysteria as I said a prayer and thanked God for the short time she was here to brighten our lives. In the four years we have been here, I have buried five little birds and a turtle beneath the wysteria. I have been told by my neighbors that this isn't bad considering we live in a round house with gigantic windows in every room, but it's six too many creatures for me.

Oddly enough, I had just taken the fake owl down. I was going to pack it away because we are moving. I put it back up beneath the plastic cup that the squirrels and doves like so much. A few minutes later there was a squirrel eating out of the cup directly above the owl's head. Obviously they find it very intimidating.

But the story doesn't end here. As I was burying her, I kept having this odd "feeling" that an animal was in trouble. I've had this feeling many times before. Sometimes, I never find an answer. Most of the time, though, the answer is in the pond in front of the guest bedroom.

I returned to the guest bedroom pond. Sure enough, there was a baby lizard belly up in the pond, and apparently in so long it had turned a turquoise blue. I've saved so many lizards before, though, and it's always worth the time to try and save one of God's blessed little creatures. I gathered it up from the rocks at the bottom of the pond. It was very still. I held it in my hands and waited half an hour, praying, holding the little creature in the sunlight. Suddenly, I felt it start to breathe. I could see its tiny stomach moving on the sides.

The baby lizard sat on my hand another hour, at least, as I sat in the sunshine, enjoying my birds. When I tried to put it down, it clung desperately to my finger, so I continued to sit in the sunshine, listening to the birds, waiting until the little lizard was ready. I finally convinced it to crawl onto a rock.

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