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  • Writer's pictureMargretta Gurley

The Little Bird

The sharp crack at the window made me jump. As my pulse returned to normal, I felt dread and was saddened because I knew a bird had hit one of our windows. I went outside and found a soft, feathered creature on the ground, its legs twitching. I ran back inside to get a box to put it in. Perhaps it was just knocked out and needed a safe place to rest while it came around. When I returned, I knew that it would not be getting up, it had passed. I hoped it did not experience pain in its death. 

How could I have prevented this death? I felt guilty and knew that, for months, I needed to place something on the windows so that the birds would know that the glass is not air. My remorse gradually gave way to curiosity. What kind of bird was it? What was its habitat? What do birds add to my life?

Grabbing my Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America I looked up sparrows because that is what I thought it was. Do you know how many sparrow species there are? A lot and I am a novice birder at best. My best guess was a song sparrow as they are common and their habitats include gardens and thickets. We have many native plants in our yard to attract birds, mammals and amphibians. I enjoy seeing and hearing the wildlife in our garden. Sparrows often stop by, they are omnivores and eat insects and seeds, helping the environment in their own way.  

Looking at the bulbs starting to push through the ground, I knew what I would do. With a shovel I dug a hole next to the flowers, into it I placed the bird and gave thanks for its short, beautiful life. It will decompose over the months and help nourish the plants.

And then I went inside to search for decals to place on my windows.

Need information on where to bring injured birds in Northern California?

Wondering how to prevent bird strikes? Here are some suggestion from the Portland Audubon Society:

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America

Meg’s Ceremonies

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