For The Birds

August 5, 1998
  Feh. I'm bored with this format. I've spent the last couple of days half-heartedly monkeying around with new designs and now I'm bored with that too. Inertia sets in; out with the new, in with the old. Again.

I'll tell you whose design I'd like to steal: Scott's. Nice and spare, streamlined, clean. But he can't be an unread, obscure journal-ist so I can fob off the theft as original, can he? No, he's got to be the Canadian poster boy for online journaling, he has to have a devoted readership, he has to be popular. Bastard. I hear he bakes brownies, too.

There's a soundtrack of guilt around here lately. There's a bird living out front, peeping from the bushes all day long, accusing me of being a heartless bastard. And he might be right, because the alternative is too much of a pain in the ass.

It started three or four nights ago at about 2:00 a.m. I was in the den watching something uplifting and educational like Wings on the Discovery Channel, something of that ilk, when this bird started peeping out back. Loud. Really loud. I went to investigate and found it huddled on the patio, trying to jump in through the dog door. Figuring he was just a little disoriented, I tried to shoo him away. He wouldn't shoo. So I picked him up, took him out into the open and did the "Fly! Be free!" bit. No go, that bird was latched onto my finger with a deathgrip. Then I noticed his right wing was a bit droopy. Turns out it's broken.

Well, when you've got two dogs and two cats, all of whom would just love an avian appetizer, and you've got a bird that can't fly, what do you do? If you're a softie, you bring it inside. I am. I did. I set it up in the den, closed all the doors, and went to bed wondering what the hell to do with this bird.

By morning I kept coming up with the same answers over and over again: cage it and feed it and ultimately watch it die in captivity or spend a fortune having a vet put it back together so I could set it free again. Both options sucked, so I opened the door and let him hop his gimpy way outside and into Nature's Master Plan. And what a plan it is...

That little bastard has it made out there, just as long as he keeps a weather eye out for marauding cats. There's another bird -- his mother, or maybe his mate -- who's keeping him fat and happy. Every ten minutes or so he peeps like a chick and this other bird swoops down with a little order of takeout for him. He comes out from hiding, eats, and pops back into hiding again. Considering his condition, I think he's doing all right.

I still feel twinges of guilt about leaving him out there to fend for himself, but I really do think it's better that he die early and free than to live out his days in a cage with our pets drooling at him all day long. Of course, I could always take him to the vet and have that wing fixed...if I could find a vet to do it. We looked. All the vets we talked to don't take wild birds; they say they don't know what to do with them. So all told, I think he's better off outside. He'd live longer if I took him in, but I don't think it'd be a good life. And besides, he's got his own personal chef out there.

And as I sit here writing this, pondering this little guy's fate, he's outside cheeping at me, screaming "Murderer! Bird abuser! Audobon anarchist!" After three days of this he's starting to bug me.

Makes me want to go out and step on him.

Copyright © 1998
Chuck Atkins