Thursday, March 08, 2007

My Crow is in Rehab...

Nothing like a change of subject to help move on. Que Sera, Sera is all I want to say about the previous post. The crow? Something I didn't have enough energy to blog about once I returned from NY. Also, I didn't want to think about it much but since he's going to survive...

 The day before I left to come home it was bitterly cold, something like 10 degrees. I was doing the dishes and heard a commotion at the large bird feeder that dominates the front window. Moments before, a gang of crows were celebrating over a batch of burnt popcorn. As I looked out to see what the disturbance was about, they dispersed skittishly save one. ALL the birds took off except one crow who sat in an odd stance on the snow. "That's not right" I told my dad as I stepped outside for a better look.

The snow was really two inches of ice so I stepped gingerly across it with an old New Englander's bad knees fears roaring in my ears. The crow did not move or mutter. His head was up, eyes open - he seemed in a trance. As I grew closer I saw the blood, dark crimson on his impossibly black feathers and dotting the snow. I bent slowly and encircled his body as best I could with my bare hands.

Crows are huge. Bigger than soup chickens. Nothing, not a peep nor shift of muscle in protest and as I raised him up I saw the gashes around his eye and the one under his beak pulsing, dripping with his steady heartbeat that I could feel like a bomb ticking. He was bleeding to death in my hands. I brought him into to house with my fingers pressed tight over the bleeder that seemed to be counting his life out in a trail of bright splotches through the snow.

My Dad protested feebly but knowing my history with birds in plight he just watched, anxiously concerned over some clutch of germs that crows supposedly carry. "Soap and water, Dad, not to worry." Easy for me to say, I was leaving for GA the next day. After keeping direct pressure on the worst wound for a few minutes and determining that he still had both eyes, I rolled him burrito style in an old dishtowel so he couldn't flutter or walk once, or if, he came to his senses.

 He wasn't unconscious but seemed to be "away" - all of his instincts in abeyance as I handled and tended him. I have no illusions about being a "bird charmer" the most injured birds will still struggle for escape and survival and injure themselves even worse when humans try to intervene. This bird was dying.

 I found an empty diaper box, tucked him in it and set it in the dark and warm laundry room. My hands were covered in gore and I was amazed that I hadn't gotten blood all over my clothes. Checking the web I found that the generous residents Westchester, NY one of the richest counties in the USA, has spent some of it's wealth for a Wildlife rehabilitation organization probably out of desperation as all the critters now routed from their habitat and conflict with the people on a daily basis. I left a quick message and within minutes a woman called me back asking if I could take him to the Somers Animal Hospital just ten minutes away. I quickly agreed but told her "Ma'am, I can't afford open heart surgery on a crow..." she assured me that all the care was provided by vets and staff volunteers. No charge to save a wild life.

Within a few minutes I was lifting the box out of the trunk of the car and Crow was staring angrily out a crack at me seemingly amazed to be where he was as I handed him over to a crew vet techs. This was the same animal hospital where, over thirty years ago, I sat in the waiting room with my then future husband, holding hands in grief while I waited to hear whether my dog, Danny Baily, would live or die. He had been hit by a car and was injured internally. He lived and thrived thanks to the care he received at this place,including a blood transfusion from their resident donor dog named Mountain. Amazing the memories a place will hold.

 Anyway, Crow spent a week in treatment and now is in rehabilitation where he will be assessed for release to the wild. I hope they hold him until the weather warms up a bit. We'll never know for sure why he was attacked but, reading up on it, I found out that crows will attack one of their own if it is weak or injured or acting oddly. Maybe he had the gall to bitch about the popcorn being burnt.


Debra said...


This is one of the very posts you've written. (sigh.. why does happen for us when aren't talking about our art??)

Glad your crow is recovering.

ACey said...

Usually, the murders are known to live up to their name when a sentry has failed them in some way.

glad you got to this one. I hope he lives long and, well yeah ... propers.

Ms. said...

It's a wonderful story...and I love the way you incorporate the past into the present, and that last snarky "popcorn" comment!