Ever go about minding your own business when BAM! something makes you nearly jump out of your skin?
Mildly irritated at the sudden thrrrrromp against my window, I looked outside the patio door, expecting to see some neighborhood kids laughing with each other at their prank. Seeing and hearing nothing, I began to retreat when I saw a fledgling (also known as a male teenager, who looks grown but can’t do things an adult can yet, so say Rehabilitation Specialists in the field) looking back at me from the corner of his eye.
Before hobbling to the edge, I waited inside, thinking perhaps he was just stunned and would fly away momentarily. In the meantime, hower, I contacted my friend who referred me to a wildlife rehab specialist. Being as it was a weekend, finding a place that was open took some time. They suggested I place him in a shoebox to carry him in, so I gathered my supplies (I added to the box my own list, like a non- terrycloth rag and some newspaper and a shallow bowl of water) before opening the screen door. As soon as I did, off he hobbled to the edge. I worried he would injure himself more by toppling over the ledge in fear, so I waited another 45 minutes to see what he would do.
As many a teenager would do, he ignored the risk and took the leap. I heard a soft THUMP. My heart heavy, I walked downstairs to retrieve him and to my surprise, he seemed just as alert as before. In fact, it took me a few tries before I could gather up the frightened creature and secure him in my shoebox (with several large air holes). He wrestled with the lid of the box and chittered pitifully as his family members came close (but not too close) in response.
My partner comes home not 20 minutes later and decides to take a peek at the injured bird before we run him over and – you guessed it – the teenager hopped right out and threw himself off the balcony again. Guess who had to go ensnare the little thing this time? (Hint, it wasn’t me.) We drove 40 minutes across town, bird-in-shoebox in tow, going over the endless Michigan bumps and potholes and dips. The entire time I worried the fledgling would have a heart attack en route, but I wasn’t about to lift the lid on the box to find out! We finally arrived at the clinic and were relieved that he had survived not only the crash into our window and the falls from the ledge, but the car ride, as well. They assured us he would recover without trouble.
To our surprise (and theirs), they had received several calls that day, almost to the point of an epidemic pigeon-crashing or something. I’m guessing the media’s idea of coverage-worthy epidemics do not include teenage birds learning they can’t fly through windows.
For those interested in the type of pigeon (did you know there are over 700?!?!), I’m not certain. This website, however, offers a good deal of information on various types, and I would venture to say that you could find out about carrier pigeons, too, which could be fun!
Should you have trouble with a wild animal, there are rehabilitation specialists in abundance. I found some for turtles, for wolves, for birds of prey, and so much more! Wild Life Rehab, guided me to exactly where I needed to be, and might be useful for you or someone you know in the future. You could also look into the Humane Society.
Remember that animals carry diseases that humans may not be immune to, so take proper safety precautions if you take one to a center. With luck, you’ll find a place that comes to you to pick up the critter.
May your neighboring creatures stay safe to themselves and to you.