Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Little Bird that flew in to change the Sunday...

First of all everyone at home is happy that little Pranay is back after a month's stay at the hospital. How nice to see the little fellow back where he belonged. He is under so much close attention now, more than ever before.

Before we planned to go and visit him I han an unlikely visitor at home. From the window beside which I work most of the time I listen many a time to the sound of the birds, sparrows, and others I don't know but am' very curious. Such sweet sounds only God can create. There is one very tiny bird I see very often. As small as the bee-humming bird but maybe a shade bigger. Has a slightly longer and pointed beak and makes very sweet sounds. Very fast reflexes it can detect even a small movement. You need to be very still if you are watching them. On Sunday morning after cleaning my Dell Computer I go back to my room and I am surprised to see the tiny one on the grill of the window and making its familiar call. I instantly notice that it is unable to get out of the room. It wasn't flying very well and kept falling to the floor. I quickly slided the window to prevent him from going out of the window. Like the fly it kept hitting and banging frantically against the glass window trying to get out it but in vain. Chaithu, sleeping until then woke up saying he had been hearing the bird for a long time. I closed the door and tried to get Jaya and Chaithu to help me catch the bird. I realised it wasn't able to fly very well. With some difficultly I finally managed to catch it and put it in a pan (that's the best cage I could manage). Luckily the pan had a glass lid and a hole in that lid just enough to let air inside. It was still trying to fly out maybe again mistaking the glass lid for open space. I rushed to mother's place hoping I would be helped by them. Suji, my sister made a nice cage using some well ventilated plastic baskets. I was both angry and irritated that no one was feeling for the bird as much as I did. I was just too fanatical. We brought the bird back home. Sometimes it would just stop trying to fly out and it would just sit there. Meanwhile it looks as though its parents had heard its call and they were flying outside the window. I would place the basked in the balcony to attract them and the sounds made by the chick (which I had realised by then) and its parents seemed conversational. I also noticed it swallowed two mustard seeds I had put inside the basket. After a while it would desperately go for the openings in the basket. What tenacity! I just couldn't help admiring the little one, making its calls and trying to fly out.

After lunch I decided I would take it to the Blue Cross just a 10 minute ride on my scooter where I had already called saying I would be bringing in the little bird. As Chaithu and Jaya accompanied me and the little one I couldn't help watching the parents circle the place a zillion times, jumping from tree branch to tree branch. There were predators around (crows, how much I despise them for this, although they are treated sacred by us Hindus) and I knew the chick would be a "sitting duck" for them. The ride to Blue Cross was slow but the little one kept squeaking all the way.

Blue Cross was a mini zoo. It was my first visit and I was both impressed and amazed. There were noises from the cages from all over the place. The place itself pretty huge and laid out quite well. There were people taking care of the animals even on a Sunday. At the emergency clinic doctors were attending to an injured dog. From one enclosure you could hear scary and wailing cries from dogs. I was told these were the most frightened and abused ones. I didn't want to go there. There were visitors feeding some of the animals. Paranoid of the dogs and all the screams Jaya stayed behind while I and Chithu headed for the office moving cautiously but without fear among the dozens of stray dogs that were lying around the office. After being assured that the little bird would be put in a large cage we were lead to the aviary atop a flight of stairs to a building at the rear of the compound. There were about 50 or more pigeons being fed. Two injured parrots were in a huge enclose where they had sufficient room to fly. The lady (she had scars on her hands) who took our little cage let the bird out in a cage large enough for it to fly. The little one immediately took flight and started perching on the bars of the cage but it wasn't frantically trying to get out. But the poor infrastructure and callousness of the center were soon to be exposed.

Just after a short while I couldn't see the tiny bird in the cage. Where did it go? To my surprise I see it at the bottom of the cage where I guess it had dropped without having the strength to fly. But even worse there was a gaping hole at the bottom where the soldered cage had given way. What a shame I didn't see it. By the time I alerted (almost screamed) to the ladies who where standing there it had slipped through it and flown away into the open. I was surprised it could fly so well. It was still making calls frantically as if searching for its parents. I was sad and shocked. It took a while for the inattentive ladies to ascertain as to what had happened. I and Chaithu ran down the steps of the building to a nearby tree from where I could still hear the bird but couldn't locate it. The lady who attended to us was joined by a man now and they too were trying to locate the bird from the constant cries. Chaithu was the one who located it perched on a branch nearby. I wondered why none of the adults could locate it. The bird was calling incessantly. I was so sad that it was trying to call its parents. Was it hungry? I saw it swallowing a mustard or two I threw in the basket, but I wasn't sure that was its food. The man tried to climb the tree but the disturbance frightened the little one who flew away into another tree, this time much farther away never to be seen again. I felt hopeless that I had displaced the little chick afterall. Would it starve to death? Would it become prey to some predator in the night like the owl? If only I had let it out when its parents were circling our area. But then it was hardly able to fly and now it flies so well. We could still hear it calling and it was getting all so painful but we couldn't do anything. All the comforting of the staff that it would survive fell on my deaf ears.

I left Blue Cross bereft of something so dear to me. Back at home the parent birds were still flying around the trees and the building searching and calling for their little one and I could never forgive myself for what I did. I should have atleast caged the bird, fed it and then let it out when it was well and much stronger. Spending hours later on the internet I discovered it was a "Prinia" a type of bird that belong to the "Wabler" group.

I see adult birds now and then and can instantly recognize the call of these birds but I keep wondering what had happened to that little one that flew in on that Sunday morning.

1 comment:

Susan Deborah said...

Bird-watching with you would be a delight, I reckon. I like to bird watch. Our campus is filled with wonderful birds.

When I read this post, I think that you a bit too emotional about these tiny creatures. They have their own life and hence it flew away when the chance came.

Joy always,
Susan