Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bird tragedy?


I knew what had happened without even rising from the couch. A large bird had crashed into our window. Kayt looked out, and spotted a male Hairy Woodpecker on a tree near the window. She heaved a sigh of relief. "It's alright," she said. I got up from the couch. "No, it's not," I responded, looking at the ground just under the window. "Oh no," Kayt breathed with alarm. There lay a dazed female Hairy Woodpecker, her neck stretched out in the wet, melting, icy grass. She breathed heavily and unevenly, her head askew, eyes closed. Her breathing turned to shudders that made her feathers twitch. I turned away, couldn't watch the inevitable end, though I prayed to the Goddess for mercy for the suffering bird.

Kayt went out, against my vociferous objections, and moved the bird out from under the dripping roofline. She reported that the bird looked up at her, and attempted to move away from her as she approached. The bird's mate, she said, was very upset, and remained vigilantly on the tree nearby chirping its fear and alarm incessantly. I could not watch nor listen, but instead retreated under my covers on the couch to cry for the pretty bird whose life was seeping into the snow melt under our window.

An hour later, the injured bird was gone. Vanished. Kayt understood the vanishing as the bird getting its head together and flying off into the sunset with its obviously upset mate. I understood the disappearance as a fox sent by The Divine to end the woodpecker's misery.

As it turns out, Kayt was right. Or maybe I was, too, at least in my pleading for Divine Intervention. In any case, the next day, we saw both Hairy Woodpeckers feeding on the suet. We only had one pair of Hairys, so we are certain that the female is the same individual who had seemed to be so critically injured.

Our wilderness and wild creatures are resilient. But to prevent future incidents, we installed fake spiderwebs on the windows near the bird feeders. The spiderwebs have stabilia--those solid parts of the web in the center. Some scientists think that stabilia have evolved over the millenia to prevent birds from crashing into spider webs. We'll see if the static cling variety works. Meanwhile, I sent a prayer of thanks to the Bird Goddess who intervened for our lovely female Hairy Woodpecker.

Image above: Neolithic Bird Goddess, 5900-5800 BCE

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful story. Woodpeckers have to be hardheaded, considering how they make a living.

    Summer soon!