Some friends called around 3 in the afternoon to say that a "giant bird" was trapped underneath their car and did I know anyone who might help. Well, I love birds. One of my dreams is to capture one of the wild parrots that squawk across the sky each morning and evening in this area. So, I said, "we'll be right over." Notice how easily I rope my husband into my adventures!
I went prepared with a large towel and a sliced apple.
The bird was a parrot. And we thought he might have been a lost pet for about two minutes. After that we knew he was wild because he was so agitated by human attention. This is a good time to note that my daughter thinks it's anti-feminist to think of this bird as a he. In fact, parrots' genders cannot be determined without a blood test. I refer to him as a he because - well...I don't know why I refer to him as a he. Perhaps because he was so grumpy. Or maybe I am not a feminist. I guess I need to think this over.
I tried all sorts of things to lure this bird to safety. I noticed that his left wing was drooping and he didn't fly very far. But he could move. From car to bush to deep in the hedge and back to under the car. The Authorizer (my dear husband) corralled from one end and I cooed and proffered food from another. Our friends offered support and ideas - and one of them kept going in the house (deep fear of birds). Finally we were successful.
Here's a little video right after we caught him:
On his beak is strawberry flesh, not blood. This was about the calmest moment for him. He bit me at least fifteen times and broke my skin twice. Several times I had to hold his beak from the top to keep him from hurting me. And he was SO hungry. He at half an apple and 3 strawberries in about 5 minutes.
We took him home and I set him up with bird seed, more fruit, and unsalted peanuts in the shell, which he loves to crack and eat almost as much as my husband.
I called local veterinarians, shelters, and Mr. Google to figure out next steps. On google I learned more about how to treat the hurt wing. So I went home and put Grumpy McGrumpster in the sink with warm water and used hydrogen peroxide on what I thought might be a wound - but it was so dirty I couldn't tell if it was oil from the car or dried blood. It was dried blood. I mistakenly used a white towel to dry off the parrot and the towel turned brown. Oh well.
The next day I gave the bird (G McG) another bath and checked his wing again. He was getting stronger and flying a few feet at a time. Here's a video of that session, during which he seemed incredibly happy:
Notice how brown his feathers looked when they were wet. And look at all the yucky stuff in the water - he was much cleaner after his second shower.
After a few more days I took G McG outside to get some air and see the garden. I put his plastic box on its side to see what he would do and what he did was RUN. He was out of the box and into the garden in seconds flat. Knowing he couldn't go far, I thought, "I'll let him play outside while I make dinner." I put strawberries and peanuts in his box and went inside.
|Our latest Garden Box|
An hour later, he hadn't returned and wasn't visible to me, so I went back in the house. He slept outside that night.
I saw him in the neighbor's tree the next day. He wasn't any friendlier. I felt like he was throwing gang signs and he yelled at me a few times. I threw some peanuts at the base of the tree and went on with my life. He was happier outside and the weather was nice.
|Can you see him?|
|Throwing Gang Signs|
About a week later my husband opened up the French doors to find G McG sitting on one of his garden shoes.
|G McG - still angry|
And that was April 15, 2013. I haven't seen him or heard him since.
I shared this story with my Dad, who lives in Utah and doesn't have wild parrots. I joked that I was frustrated with the parrot because it was still mean to me and distrustful even though I had consistently approached it with food, affection, comforting words, a warm and safe place to sleep, and treatment for its wounds.
He told me a story in return.
When he was a young man in Fairbanks Alaska he and his friends liked to take a short cut in the winter and cross the frozen Chena River to get to school. In the spring, as the weather warmed, the ice began to soften. One spring afternoon as he was walking home from school he saw that a dog had fallen through a soft spot in the ice and the dog could not get free. To rescue the dog, my father lay himself on the ice, and reached toward the dog. The dog bit him, hard, drawing blood. And my dad realized that he could not help this dog because the dog didn't want the help, or was too afraid to accept it. He couldn't save the dog.
And then it hit me.
I have done this.
I have reacted with fear or pride or bravado or agitation or 3-year-old foot stomping "By Myself" many times when the Lord has offered me security, succor, affection, hope, alternatives and treatment for my wounds.
On Sunday we sang the hymn "I Stand All Amazed." I thought this was a hymn that everyone knows, but when I googled it I got the impression it was a Latter Day Saint hymn. So, here are two videos in case you aren't familiar with it:
Mormon Tabernacle Choir at Conference
Tongan Girls sing I Stand All Amazed A capella
The second verse says:
I marvel that He would descend from His throne divine, To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine. That He should extend His great love unto such as I, Sufficient to own, to redeem and to justify.
This is how I feel today.