He was sitting in the middle of the road, primly puffed and rusty red feathers tucked, and something in my heart liquified at the sight. He must be heartbroken, too stunned to move, unable to leave his mate, now a mess of dark skyward feathers all angles and sharp like bones, drops of blood like bling in the morning sun.
Transfixed, I managed to back out of the way of oncoming traffic, stopping on the side of the road trying to figure out what to do. A car drove by, inches from the grieving survivor, and I realized I was mistaken; he must be dead. I rolled forward, then stopped to look again. He just looked so alive. And sure enough, I saw his shiny eye blink at me. Again I started to roll, then stopped. He must be too injured to move, and I didn't want him left on the road for the next car to roll over him.
So Sugar D took one of Swee'pea's spare and now unused receiving blankets left over from the days when we couldn't leave the house without several receptacles for Swee'pea's frequent spit-ups. He picked up the survivor and put him on our front lawn. I hoped that someone would call an agency to rescue the bird, if he survived longer than an hour. (I would have done it myself but was freaking out about timing because Sugar D had a job interview in Toronto to get to).
When we got home, I'd forgotten. But Sugar D announced that he had to check on the bird on the porch. On the porch? Yes. He put him in an old Huggies box in the shade of the porch with a piece of bread and a bowl of water, along with the baby blanket for cushioning. Sure enough, when we peaked over the edge of cardboard, there was that same eye blinking back at me.
We called the local humane society, the university's wild bird rescue centre having closed from lack of funding. The woman who came thought he looked uninjured, but guessed he was sick, too sick to move away from the car. So I wonder: was it a fluke that he was next to that recently killed bird? Or were they both too sick to avoid traffic? Was it suicide, an escape from a miserable, terminal illness? I guess I'll never know.
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