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A Call for Help

imagesWhen I stepped out of my car in the garage one unusually warm winter day, I heard a chirp.  Another bird has flown into the garage and doesn’t know how to get out, I thought.  A second chirp, high pitched and pitiful.  Almost like a shrill groan.  I hoped the trapped bird would fly out.  Several pathetic chirps.  Distress calls.  Following the sound, I walked toward the open garage door.  “Chirp, chirp.”

Beside my feet was an insect catching pad.  A non-poisonous, glue pad that was put there to do away with spiders.  A small wren lay stuck on that sticky paper that’s as thick as poster board.  His feet completely caught and one wing spread wide as if he’d tried to fly, but instead, his wing stuck on the glue pad.

I can only imagine this little bird’s excitement when he spotted a buffet of spiders spread for his mid-day meal.  Dead spiders touched his tiny toes, more slender than a toothpick.  No doubt he’d hopped right onto the white serving platter, and then he couldn’t move.

I have no qualms that spiders crawl onto a sticky pad and eventually die.  But I couldn’t walk away from Mr. Wren.  He tried to flap his stuck wing and chirped loudly as if to say, “Get me off of this!”

I pulled on my outside work gloves and lifted the glue pad and wren onto the garage workbench.  Using my most reassuring voice, I attempted to calm my patient.  He wiggled and pulled, but all four toes, on both feet, were spread apart and stuck.  I momentarily considered ending this bird’s life.  How could I possible separate his tiny toes from the sticky pad?  What if I cut the paper around his feet and he went through life wearing a pair of white paper snowshoes?  He lay still, silent.  Eyes looking at me.  I had to try.

Working carefully with a sharp scissor blade (a knife would’ve been better, but there wasn’t one close), I pried the least stuck foot loose, and held it and his body, in one hand while cutting away the excess sticky paper.  Mr. Wren didn’t move.  He couldn’t have been a better patient.  I freed his wing, every single feather.  To convince myself I whispered, “It’s okay.  You’re going to be fine.”  I cut around the bird’s second foot, hoping he’d try to hop on a dime-size paper shoe.  Mr. Wren didn’t move. I finally cut away most of the paper, and he wiggled.  When I set him on the outside driveway, he shook as if shaking off a bad experience.  He tentatively flapped his wings and flew close to the ground to a shrub where he perched for a few seconds.  And then he flew the way, into the woods.  Gone.  And I trashed all the insect catching pads that were on the garage floor.

This week the pest control man came to my house.  He walked into the garage, pulled a glue pad out of his back pocket, and said.  “I guess you want some more of these to take care of spiders and bugs, don’t you?”

He seemed surprised when I said, “No.”  I didn’t have time to tell the story of Mr. Wren.  Or that I look carefully at every wren that comes to my birdfeeder, but so far I haven’t seen one wearing one white paper sandal.


2 Responses

  1. This an especially poignant story. Being a bird lover from afar I thought of how you were feeling as you performed the ‘rescue’. Love these writings!


  2. Hi Susan,

    This is the other writing I so enjoyed.Saw Alan at the Bull & Thistle Friday night. I hope he enjoyed being there as much as we did. I also hope you are having a great time in Charleston.



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