A sudden shift in the weather has given us a couple of beautiful snowy days. The welcome white powder has kids throwing snowballs and making snowmen — tiny ones by many standards, but an absolute treat for those of us in warmer places.
Normally days like this are fun and restful. We’re not used to this weather, so our town just stops. We avoid driving, take a lot of pictures, slide down our tiny hills (the Dallas area is mostly flat), marvel at the icicles, and feast on soups all day. Today has been a little more stressful than that, though.
After 36 minutes of a non-stop ear-piecing fire alarm in our building, we decided to get out and reset our frazzled nerves. My spouse went to check on a property, and I opted for a walk in the park. The walk itself went well… and then I came in the gate and found a robin lying motionless on its side on the snow-covered walkway. It was such a sad little sight. At first I was going to move it under a tree to at least get it out of the path, and then I saw its feet move and its beak open.
My heart skipped a beat.
My life experience includes many things. Unfortunately caring for fallen birds isn’t one of them. Fortunately my husband has done this before, so I dialed his cell and scooped up the little animal. As soon as it was in my hands, my heart just broke. There was something overwhelmingly comfortless about this solitary creature dying alone in the cold. Before I knew it, I was sobbing like an eight-year-old, baby-stepping it back into the building and cradling this little bird as it struggled to breathe.
To my relief, my husband had just pulled up. The robin looked so fragile, I couldn’t bring myself to hold it in one hand and work the door open. So I just stood there and waited, crying. We walked in, he took the bird with careful confidence, and asked for a shoe box. He also had me put together a make-shift heating pad and lay a towel in the box where he placed the bird after warming it in his hands for several minutes. I blew my nose and did the only thing my urban mind knew to do: I googled “how to treat a fallen bird”. He’d done everything right.
It’s been an evening of setting stop watches every 15 minutes to check on the robin. After warming the bird, the idea is to remove the lid and see if it’s ready to fly away. I’m still teary-eyed and worried, but so far it seems to be getting better. It’s no longer on its side, its eyes are open, and it looks to be breathing regularly. We’ve placed a little cap with some water and pear bits in its box (they eat worms and fruit and well, we’re short on worms).
And as I finish typing this, it just stood up!
With the temperature steadily dropping, I’m afraid it will end up in the same bad situation again. I know it’s a wild animal and surely knows what it’s doing, but I’m a domesticated city dweller, and I don’t. So we’re keeping it overnight and —fingers crossed— releasing it in the morning. Wish our visiting robin luck!