By morning light
Tuesday July 19th 2011, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

I woke up this morning and checked: my little finch was still up there. Her feathers were fluffed way out against the foggy chill, her soft gray down showing, but she was alive and she was there.

For about the first hour all the other birds, all species, kept well clear of her feeder. The other was getting low, though, and the morning was getting on, so I leaned my head out the door as if to ask her if she would mind my opening the storage can of seed on the ground near her. I wasn’t going to touch her feeder but neither did I want to scare her into anything.

Her eyes met mine and from there I felt comfortable going on ahead. She watched me at work, still barely moving, no sign of eating, and I wondered how long she could last. I marveled at her determination to survive.

I filled the seed above all the portholes on the one over there;  the flying circus noticed. Soon I had quite the flock settling in: fledgling finches mostly hopping around gleaning, more of them up on the feeders, jockeying for position. My injured one turned her head this way and that to watch them, and finally one flew over by her. And then another and another, coming and going, one bumping right into her. She ignored him but startled at the next one, spreading a wing wide and pulling it back in quickly. Hey! I did not know she could do that!

I was just wondering where all the squirrels were when a black one showed up and took over ground control. At his sudden incoming, all the little ones took off in a fright immediately followed by half the ones that had been clinging above them.

I had just turned for a moment to watch that sudden flurry happen, turned back, and–she was gone!

I checked the patio. I checked the amaryllis table. I looked about and around and over and under, and again, but no, she really had, she had flown too, much though I wanted to have seen it happen.

Was it one of her babies that had flown off in a fright? Was it simply the call of her flock? I don’t know. But this I do know: a small wild thing trusted me night and day till she was able to care for herself again.

Later, I found myself looking at the anonymous random others of her species that came and went, and wondered, Are you my finch? Too much white in the bar on the wings. Are you the one?

And realized that she who had so claimed me had made all of them mine now.

9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Frost’s Two Look at Two has nothing on you. I thought about you and your finch yesterday – and forgot to say so with our other two discussion running – while Sissy and Gretchen faced off, with the pen fence in between, with two deer “in velvet”. One was fairly young, but the other was an older guy with what will be thick, impressive antlers…

Comment by Channon 07.20.11 @ 5:47 am

I believe you helped her steady her nerves. Sometimes all it takes is a chance to pull it together, and you gave it to her. Then the whole family showed up, she was safe, and I do believe her look was an avian version of a bread and butter note.

Comment by Patricia Day 07.20.11 @ 7:38 am

You are so excellent at caring for all sorts of God’s creatures in need! Would you have made the finch a hat or shawl if it needed one? 😉
Did you hear the story on All Things Considered yesterday about the Bald Eagle pair that were reunited at a rehab center?

Comment by Barbara S. 07.20.11 @ 7:58 am

A marvelous conclusion to a fascinating story. I just love how all the creatures (Great and Small)gather around for breakfast.

Comment by Don Meyer 07.20.11 @ 8:13 am

I’m so glad your finch made it! Our cats are indoor creatures, but we have a neighborhood cat, Sam, who prowls in our yard, and he’s a hunter. But the little birds stay safely tucked in the bushes, or on the high birdfeeder. I’ve only seen Sam with prey a couple of times- once he caught a snake (I just typed ‘snack’ and had to correct it) and ran flying out of our yard with the two ends of the little snake trailing out of his mouth like a super-long moustache. Mostly I see Sam prowling on the neighbor’s porch (not the neighbor he belongs to)…where they keep a little cat food for him, and once in a while, he’s able to stalk and eat the wily can of tuna. (I often wonder what a cat would think if they actually saw a real live tuna…)

Comment by RobinH 07.20.11 @ 8:27 am

Thank you for your story and particularly for the last sentence. Best piece of theology I’ve read in a looonnnng time… Blessings Be

Comment by Joan 07.20.11 @ 8:29 am

a song just keep coming to my head as I’ve read these posts about the finch — wrong bird, right sentiment: “for His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me” just being reminded again that we are His eyes and hands to even the least little creature

Comment by Bev 07.20.11 @ 10:17 am

I am so glad it worked out. I was going to suggest the addition of a small bottle cap of water, as that would likely be her most urgent need at this point.
Oscar and I have started a wish list of sorts, of what features we need and want in our future home. A place to feed and view birds is near the top of the list for me.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 07.20.11 @ 11:06 am

Before Scruffy moved to your home town, Alison, he clearly had had a difficult time. Part of one ear is missing. One hot, humid summer morning here, he was attacked by another dog. The vet who treated him said he was the only dog he’d ever seen who didn’t need to be muzzled. He trusts us. It’s quite touching.

These days Scruffy is spending his time in the coolest parts of the house. Temperatures are high; humidity is high; the air conditioner, which has worked perfectly all summer so far, is having difficulty keeping up. That energetic terrier has lost his will to be outdoors… for the time being.

Comment by RobinM 07.20.11 @ 3:32 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>