Birds are my friends.  Really.  It’s purely coincidental how my only two attempts at saving the little feathered fellows ended in utter heartbreak.

For awhile I lived in a second-floor apartment that overlooked a flat roof.  Tar Beach, as it was called, was just perfect for star-gazing, grilling, and cold beers at sunset.  The resident cats, Tigger, Yoda, and Valentine Michael Smith,  were fond of Tar Beach as well.  When the front window was opened, the three kitties could spent hours outside sunbathing and watching the world go by from above. 

My Russian Blue Yoda was the devil in a grey fur coat.  Left to her own devices, Yoda would catch and bring home any creature that walked, crawled, or flew within paw’s reach.  One day, she climbed back into the apartment through the front window carrying a little brown bird in her mouth.  Yoda was justifiably pleased with herself, but the little brown bird was in a panic.  There had been plenty of impromtu funerals for Yoda’s less fortunate prey, but this tiny creature was still very much alive, and very frightened.  A recue was in order.

It took some coaxing to get the bird out of Yoda’s mouth.  But once I did and the offended cat went off to sulk, I held the bird in my palms and assessed the situation.   It was obviously young, but with no apparent blood or wounds.  Relieved, I cradled the little bird in one hand and crawled out through the window onto Tar Beach.  But what to do now?  No trees grew near enough to place the bird safely on a branch, and if it were simply left  there on the flat roof Yoda would snag it again as soon as my back was turned.  But wait!  Birds can fly!  To the very edge of the flat roof I carried the little brown bird, where I gave it a gentle toss toward freedom.

Which turned out to be a really, really stupid idea.

Remember that scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window,  in which Jimmy Stewart falls from his window in slow motion while looking at the camera all helpless and terrified?   Yep.  Poor little bird fell like a rock, and its last Earthly sight before the pearly gates of Bird Heaven opened was my clueless, yet horrified face.  May it rest in peace.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Several years later, my husband and I were driving home from work when we spied a robin quivering near the center line in the road up ahead.  When the bird didn’t flee at our approach, I pronounced it  in need of help.  That ominous music you’re no doubt hearing right now is the sound of foreshadowing.

My dear husband knows what a force of nature his wife can be, so when I requested that he pull off the road next to the bird, he sighed deeply and did it.  “And what do you propose we do?” he asked.   Well, wasn’t it perfectly obvious?  My proposal was that he get out of the car and shoo the poor robin off the road before it was hit by a car and killed.   With an even deeper sigh, the sweet man put the car in park, turned on the flashers, and went to do my bidding.  And that, of course, was a really, really stupid idea.

When he got within two steps of it, the robin suddenly realized my husband was there,  and in a flurry of wings it took off—right into the path of an oncoming pickup truck.

Nothing but feathers.  May it also rest in peace.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


I’ve lived with the guilt of those two dead creatures for years now.  And although I know that birds are incapable of higher communication skills and feelings such as spite, it seems more than a coincidence how every single morning my car is covered with white splotches of bird crap even though I park nowhere near a tree.  

I am the reason these birds are angry.



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