After eating dinner with extended family tonight, the kids and moms were outside playing — swinging, sliding, climbing in and out of the wagon, and generally being obnoxiously loud — when a little wild finch flew right into our midst! She narrowly missed being hit by the boys "spider" swinging, and then did hit the tree. My sister-in-law noticed right away that the little bird seemed to be blind.
Having a heart for little hurt creatures, but no guts to get anywhere actually near them, we hurriedly sent for hubby who was knee-deep in our computer, working on his new work website. Like a Knight in Shining Armor, he came out to the backyard and rescued this little damsel in distress (not me, the bird!).
After we secured her in one of those cheap little clear plastic animal containers, we noticed that she had some sort of eye infection. One of her eyes could open the tiniest bit, the other was a big swollen mess. The boys got out the North American Bird book and decided our little bird was some sort of wild finch. My sister-in-law guessed she was female by her coloring, so we named her Mrs. Finchley.
Mrs. Finchley sat in her little cage in a stupor. I put in a little dish of water, sprinkled sesame seeds around the container for her, but as she was blind — she didn't seem to know anything was in there with her! Remembering a small eye dropper, I reached in and dropped water on her beak. She perked up right away and started pecking at the ground for water. We moved the water dish where she was pecking, and she soon began to drink it up. After watching her splash and drink, Micah thought we should fill up a little dish with seeds and ran to find something suitable. We moved the seed dish to a place where the little bird would peck into it, and she found the seeds and began to chow down. We sat and watched the hungry and thirsty little bird as her urgent needs were met, and our hearts warmed at her new-found happiness.
The trouble was, once she was feeling better, Mrs. Finchely decided it was time to go. She began trying to fly away, only to hit the plastic sides of the cage, over and over and over, ad nauseum. Poor Mrs. Finchley. We all had felt so good about the fact that we had made her feel better, only to now watch her knocking herself in the head and feeling flustered all over again.
Oh, man. What do we do with this bird? Just let her go, and die on her own somewhere? Leave her in this cage all night bumping around until tomorrow when we could take her to a vet to get her cured or put down? Find a wildlife refuge who would take her off our hands? What if she has THE AVIAN FLU?????
We discussed all the possibilities with no answers in sight, so I ran to the place Everyone goes when she needs to figure what to do: Google.
It only took a few minutes to diagnose (ain't the Internet grand?) that Mrs. Finchley has Mycoplasmosis, a bacteria-like disease that produces eye and respiratory infections. The good news for us is that she does not have the Bird Flu, and what she has is not transmittable to humans. The bad news is that it looks like Mrs. Finchley is doomed to die. The website I found says, "Infected birds should be collected and humanely euthanized."
I was hoping for a happy ending to Mrs. Finchley's story…we'll have to see how things go tomorrow.
We did read some comforting words in scripture this evening before putting the boys to bed, from Matthew 10:29-31:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Mrs. Finchley may not be a sparrow, but surely God knows about her too. What an incredible thought that the God who made the entire universe knows about each and every little bird! And what a comforting thought that he knows about you and me, and that we are worth more than many finches.