Bird Lessons

As I approached the sliding doors to my workplace this morning, I noticed a small bird sitting motionless in front of a bench to the right of the entrance. Something didn’t seem quite right, so I stopped and watched it for a minute. I’m not sure what kind of bird it was-small, fluffy, yellow beak…It looked fine but it seemed paralyzed. I stepped a little closer to see if it would move out of the way. It didn’t. I tried moving on the the other side. Nothing. It didn’t even seem to track me with its eyes. I surmised that it had flown into the window and was stunned but it looked capable of flight otherwise. I left the bird and went in to work assuming it would soon fly away.

Not long after, my colleague came running by and said,”There’s a hurt bird out there!”  She rummaged around looking for a box, found one, and rushed off again. Then I heard a commotion outside my office window. Several of my colleagues were outside consulting on the best next steps. Alerted by a hotel guest that a little bird was hurt, they had all dropped everything and pitched in to relocate the bird away from foot traffic. Every so often, over the next half hour, a colleague would come peek out my window to check on the bird. They googled “how to help a hurt bird”. They called the  Audubon Society. All of this concern caused me to think two things:

  1. I work with a really empathetic, kind group of people. I appreciate this so much because I’ve also worked with people who would have set a cat loose in the bird’s general vicinity.
  2. Apparently, I have more in common with the cat people.

I thought that bird was fine. No one else did. I thought I showed a fair amount of concern. Everyone else was more concerned. It’s an uncomfortable feeling knowing that what you thought was true about yourself might not be true after all. Maybe….I’m not that nice.

It reminds me of the conundrum of average intelligence. Average intelligence means that most of the population falls in an average range with about half the population on the lower end and about half on the higher end. I’ll bet, though, if you took a poll of a cross section of the population, that most people feel they are above average. I guess we all need to think well of ourselves. But back to my story.

Within an hour, that bird flew off into a tree and out of our lives. My colleagues all felt good about themselves for helping him. I felt smarter than average.

Chicken out




  6 comments for “Bird Lessons

  1. jenny_o
    November 13, 2019 at 3:17 am

    Sometimes too much empathy leads to unwarranted interference. I once took a wild bird with an injured foot to the vet. He gently suggested I return the bird to where I found it, and nature would take care of it. Either the foot would heal, or it wouldn’t. That was knowledge I didn’t have prior to that point. Now, my husband was never told that by a vet or anyone else, but that’s what he would have told me if I had been willing to listen. He has common sense.

    Sounds like you have common sense, too, which as we all know is not common 🙂


    • November 13, 2019 at 11:49 am

      Oh no…a hurt foot is totally different. Of course you want to help that little guy. My common sense is selective. It applies itself sometimes but not always.


  2. Doug in Oakland
    November 13, 2019 at 8:01 am

    When my dad taught me about the outdoors, he did teach me to size up animals to see if they’re OK or not, and I probably would’ve left that bird alone too, if it didn’t have anything obviously broken.
    Not saying I’m a veterinarian or even a wildlife rehabber, just spent a lot of time in the woods and a lot of time raising animals, and really, most of the time they don’t need or want our help.
    Now, the times when they do can be lovely, like when a raptor’s wing is messed up and the rehabber fixes it and keeps it safe and fed until it can fend for itself again, but again, those folks know what they’re doing, and I probably don’t.
    Briana used to volunteer at the raptor rehab place,and she has some fairly strong opinions on human/animal interaction, but she doesn’t scold the cat when he catches the occasional bird, especially if the bird has feathers she likes…


    • November 13, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Speaking of Raptors, when my daughter, granddaughter and I were leaving the movies the other day, we saw a hawk on a little strip of grass enjoying his dinner. Couldn’t quite tell what dinner had previously been. He flew away with it before we got too close. They are magnificent, though, and I always feel lucky to see them. I’m still waiting to spot an owl in the wild-one of the big ones. Our local Audubon Society does raptor shows each fall and we do get to see them there. Anyways, I digress. You can’t blame a cat for being a cat, right? I have a little feather collection of my own.


  3. Joanne Noragon
    November 14, 2019 at 12:02 am

    I’m with you on this one. I would have indulged the coworkers in the very same way, though.


    • November 14, 2019 at 1:56 am

      It was really sweet but we seriously need to get some of those things that you put in windows to ward off the birds.


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