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VTBIRD  December 2007

VTBIRD December 2007

Subject:

Re: Terrific Christmastime story

From:

Jane Stein <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 00:46:15 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (126 lines)

Oops. Obviously, meant to go to a friend, not the list.

Jane



Jane Stein wrote:

> Hi--
> 
> This was just posted to the VTBIRD listserve, and this person's (male or 
> female I don't know) story is so lovely, I teared up a couple of times 
> reading it.
> 
> J
> 
> J. Schulte wrote:
> 
>> Greetings!  I am in Jericho and am new to this listserve.  I want to 
>> thank those of you who have mentioned the Pine Grosbeaks at the Essex 
>> Way PO!
>>
>> On Friday, November 30th, a flock of about 20 Pine Grosbeaks was in an 
>> ornamental cherry tree out back of our house.  It was a confirmed 
>> sighting, as two of us saw them.  We had seen them several times in 
>> the week or two before.  However, on this day the flock was spooked by 
>> a sharp-shinned hawk, and one of them hit our upstairs window while 
>> fleeing.
>>
>> Somehow the hawk missed this fact, and she lay under our lilac bush 
>> for about 2 1/2 hours.  I watched her and thought she wasn't going to 
>> make it, as she nearly keeled over twice.  I didn't want her last 
>> moments to be the stress of fear, so I hung back.  But then she 
>> started to perk up a little.  The wind was also picking up and the sun 
>> was hanging low.  So I set a box over her with one end open, just to 
>> shield her from the wind.  About a half hour later, with the day's 
>> light dimming, she hopped out of the box!  However, she could not 
>> fly.  Instead she hopped all the way across our yard, heading for the 
>> pine trees there.  After a quick consult with my wildlife biologist 
>> son, I gently fetched her and set her into a box.  She did not fight 
>> or seem afraid at all; in fact, she clung to my glove, which was warm. 
>> I have no doubt whatsoever that had I not intervened she would have 
>> died soon afterward by predator, exposure (it got quite cold and 
>> windy), and/or starvation.
>> I called VINS who had me call a Rehab-er, who had me call another 
>> Rehab-er, who had me call a third Rehab-er, who encouraged me to keep 
>> her overnight, saying that most birds will recover and fly within 24 
>> hours.  So we gave her the recommended sunflower seeds along with some 
>> chickadee mix and some cardinal mix, some of the cherries off the tree 
>> out back, and, of course, a shallow dish of water.  She especially 
>> liked the safflower seeds. 
>> I was also told that a perch is very important.  So I set a laundry 
>> basket over her box, and secured a long twig through the slats as a 
>> perch.  She immediately got up onto it.  She was so peaceful, and ate 
>> and drank fine.  I put her box atop a desk under the window in our 
>> guest room, and closed it off so that it would be cool in there (about 
>> 54 degrees, but more like 45 with the window open days)...so that she 
>> could remain acclimated, though not stressed. 
>> Well, she did not fly the next day.  I was urged by the Rehab-er and 
>> my son to keep her a few days because a snowstorm was coming through.  
>> So I went to the hardware store and bought two cheap, rectangular, 
>> white laundry baskets, and set them one atop the other with the open 
>> tops together, using masking tape to make a solid hinge down one end.  
>> Then I secured four perches at graduated heights.  She really liked 
>> being able to hop up and look out the window (through a thin curtain) 
>> and hop back down to eat and drink.  I also set her water dish atop 
>> three small, flat stones to make it easier for her. 
>> I got up about a half hour after sunrise each day and changed the 
>> newspaper, towel, food and water in her space, and the water again 
>> later in the day.  On Wednesday, December 5th I tried again to release 
>> her, but she only flew a few feet twice, then could only hop around.  
>> So my son walked me through using the bander's hold and checking her 
>> wings, and I found a rough spot about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way down her 
>> right wing.  He said that because she flew that little bit it probably 
>> meant she had only a hairline fracture, but it could also mean a 
>> slight reinjury.  So he told me that the proper thing was to keep her 
>> in for 2 more weeks to allow complete healing.
>>
>> I felt so bad for her!  But I did it.  Upon advice, I also brought her 
>> some grit (tiny rounded stones about the size of seeds) to aid her 
>> digestion.  (With all the snow I had to search for them out at the 
>> mailbox!) 
>> After about another week I was surprised to be woken suddenly one 
>> morning by a loud call.  Rather than her usual soft sounds, Ms. Pine 
>> Grosbeak was calling loudly!  I asked my son about it, and he said 
>> that's her Contact Call (as in: "E.T. Phone Home!) ~ she was calling 
>> her peeps, her flock!  We hadn't seen them at all the first week, but 
>> they were out in the cherry tree twice the second week.  I wanted to 
>> release her sooner, but yielded to expert advice. 
>> She was probably ready when I noted her attempting to fly inside her 
>> space!  But we waited through that big storm last weekend, then waited 
>> a few more days for the temps to moderate.
>>
>> On Wednesday morning I fed her well and, after she had tanked up 
>> nicely, I took her basket-space out onto the back porch.  As I opened 
>> it she flew right out and up onto the rafters!!  Hurrah!!  She hung 
>> around for about an hour, eating snow and trying to figure out that 
>> she needed to fly down slightly to get out the open door (it's a 
>> screened porch).  At one point I held up a twig from the cherry tree, 
>> hoping to inspire her toward the door, but she turned around and 
>> chomped on the cherries!
>> Finally, she just did it...flew through the doorway as clean as could 
>> be and landed in the very lilac bush she had lain wounded beneath 2 
>> weeks and 5 days before!  Next she flew up into a decidous tree nearby 
>> ~ and defended the tree when a pair of tufted titmice made an 
>> appearance.  After that she was off to the very top of the tall maples 
>> along the road.  All the while she was offering her Contact Call.  She 
>> flew in strong, undulating arcs up the road aways, then back down it, 
>> this time even faster!  I was incredibly impressed and moved.  For me 
>> it was as a "Christmas Moment" ~ given the juxtaposition of great 
>> vulnerablility and great power. 
>> I hope she found her peeps!  With all the local sightings, my son says 
>> it is highly probable that she will rejoin a flock.  She certainly 
>> left here well fed and well rested, so her chances are excellent.  All 
>> good.
>>
>> I am grateful for this Listserve!
>>
>> By the way, we also have the usual locals:  chickadees, bluejays, 
>> titmice, white and red breasted nuthatches, harry and downy 
>> woodpeckers, a number of cardinals, lots of juncoes, some goldfinches, 
>> four deer and a rabbit, as well as that darned sharpy on occasion.
>>
> 
> 

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