Ramble On

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nuthatch Rescue

After we returned from our hike in SNP on Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in the Hawksbill Cabin living room and heard a loud bang.  I was a familiar sound, I'd heard it once or twice before - a little nuthatch had collided with the windows out front.  I saw the little bird laid out on the brick terrace, and just as quickly as I had looked up, I saw Mom Cat run over to check it out.

I rushed outside to see if there was anything we could do for the bird - that meant the first priority was to keep him safe from Mom Cat and the other barn cats.  They probably hunt the little song birds, and we suspect that they have taken at least one other unfortunate little bird that hit one of the windows.

A few years ago a finch struck the rear window at the Alexandria house.  That time, Mary made a call to the animal shelter to see if they would come and get the bird, of if they could offer advice.  We were told that they go into shock from the collision - that there was a good chance of recovery, as long as they are kept safe from predators until they recover - which can be anywhere from a half hour to a couple of hours.

So with the little nuthatch, I figured I would get him up off of the brick terrace, and keep him away from the barn cats and the hawks that patrol the neighborhood.  I scooped him up into one of the chairs and sat next to him to keep watch.

When he rolled over onto his back, I thought to myself, "This isn't good."  I figured I would soon be dropping him into a pile of leaves back in the wood lot.  But after about 10 minutes, he popped over onto his feet, as shown in the photo.  He was clearly still shaking things off, but the prognosis was looking better.

After another 10 minutes or so, I saw him moving his head around, checking me out.  I thought I might move the chair over to the side of the terrace, so he could see the trees and other cover - and fly away to them as soon as he was ready.  As soon as I did that, he was off, flying up and over the house.

Later, while we were packing for the drive home, I went around back to see if I could spot him.  There were two nuthatches back there - I assume it was him and his mate.  It reminded me that we found a little nuthatch nest last year in the pool cabana, with five eggs in it - maybe this is one of that brood.

In any case, my karma was assured for the week.  I'm looking for my next good deed.

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