Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bye Bye Birdie

I was hanging out the washing today when I saw my neighbour's cat run past me (it always comes to sun itself on our porch, the lazy thing) with something in its mouth. I saw it drop it, and the object twitched, so without thinking I dropped my basked, ran over and shooed away the cat. The little grey bundle of fluff turned out to be a baby bird - not even a fledgling; its feathers still looked like little spines and it clearly could not fly. I had thought if the cat was attacking a bird, it be able to escape if I intervened, but now I had a helpless creature depending on me! The cat was miaowing behind my legs, and I couldn't just leave the thing there, so I bundled it up into my jacket and took it inside. He was only bleeding a little on his wing, and seemed pretty lively (judging from the way he kept trying to bite me) so I just put him in a towel-lined shoebox with my jacket on top so he would be in a safe, dark and warm place - and it worked wonders, as he settled down to sleep almost straight away. He had an amazingly strong/musty/awful smell for such a tiny critter... my jacket is being washed for the second time right now!

My dad and I looked all over for a nest, but we couldn't find one. Given that the cat just sat there angrily miaowing at me instead of going back for seconds, I'm assuming that the little guy fell out of his nest and the cat got him then (not to mention the cat is so fat it struggles to climb over our fence, let alone up a tree!) We rang the wildlife society and they said that cat bites are actually toxic to birds (they have some kind of bacteria in their mouth) so we would need to take him to a vet. When we arrived, the receptionist said he was so young that he might not recover, but since his wing was not broken and his injuries were minimal, he still had a fighting chance. Since he was a native bird (Crested Pigeon) they would do their best to tend to his wounds, and then give him to a wildlife carer.

This isn't vintage related, I know, but I'm just looking for confirmation that I did the right thing - was I helping the bird by interfering, or should I have just let nature take its course? If anything I'm consoling myself with the fact that if it did have to be put down, that would be a lot less painful and scary than being eaten alive by a cat...

He looked just like this little guy, whose picture I had to steal from google (my take-photos-of-everything blogging instincts did not kick in until I was home again!)

It's not the first time I have had to rescue wildlife! Once I braved handling an echidna (with a heavy duty picnic blanket) that somehow found its way onto our suburban street. That guy wasn't injured though, just very, very lost.

My mum says I am a bleeding heart like my grandfather, whose farm is populated with various stragglers and add-ons that he has taken in over the years (including a stray deer and baby alpaca that fell of the back of a truck and wandered onto his property!) It's just a lot harder than you'd think to ignore something like that when it is happening right in front of you. I really do hope the little guy is doing okay.


reilly said...

Aw, I think you did the right thing! I'm assuming that cat has a bowl of food at home so it's not like the food chain is disturbed - if you were out in the wild it'd be different!

A long time ago I had to help a baby bird too! It was stuck in the wooden boards of my porch, so weird to see.

I want to visit your grandpa's farm!

Stefanie Valentine said...

I think you did the right thing. I would have done the same and automatically stepped in to help the little chick; maybe if it was a wild animal like a fox it might be a little different, but it's the pussy cat being greedy so you did good!

Steph said...

You did the right thing, and you're correct- it is impossible to ignore those sorts of happenings. I grew up on a farm that sounds very much like your grandfather's.

Maggi said...

You did the right thing! I hope this little guy will be okay!

a cat of impossible colour said...

Aw, it's so sad when that happens. I've had to deal with a few situations like that, too - I think you did the right thing.

And thanks so much for your comment on my giveaway post!

A xx

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