Monday, July 20, 2009

What Would You Do?

I was in a pretty good mood the other day. It was finally sunny out and I decided to go for a walk downtown.

I was listening to some music on my iPod, soaking up the sun.

I see a bird on the sidewalk. It looks like it's a young seagull. Still has its fuzzy head with brown and white speckles of feathers. It was balancing on one leg and had one wing hanging close to the ground. It was injured.

What do I do now? I can't just walk on by and pretend I didn't see an injured animal in need of help. I watched the bird for a while, hopping along on one foot, chirping with its young voice.

I called 411 and got the number for an animal shelter. They gave me the police department which deals with animal control issues. The police man I spoke with was not very friendly or helpful. He asked what kind of bird it was and then I could tell that I was just wasting his time. He said the animal control person was dealing with a dog and didn't know when they would be back. I asked if there were any bird rescue places I could call and his reply was "Not for seagulls".

I was standing in the hot humid sun, watching this bird, trying to decide what next to do.

When I got close to the bird I would hear the adult seagulls yelling at me from above. There were probably a dozen seagulls on the roof of the building I was next to. They were looking down at me and the injured bird. I guessed that the bird must have fallen out of his nest and injured itself, or maybe he thought he was ready to fly and couldn't manage it?

I then thought I'd try and get some food or crackers or something for it. The only thing open nearby was a book store that specialized in cookbooks and books about food but no food for sale. The owner was very nice. He said he'd seen the bird the day before and went to give him some water. When he put the water dish down the other birds from above came swooping down on him. I asked if he had a box that I could try and put the bird in, at least keep him from walking on the injured leg too much. If the animal control people did show up they could use the box to carry it in. The bookstore owner taped up the sides of the box and also gave me some water in a plastic container.

When I approached the bird it got really freaked out. It started to hobble away as fast as it could and then the birds above me were yelling up a storm.

I knew the box idea was not a good one. I didn't want to upset the bird and possibly cause more injury to it. I also didn't feel like getting attacked by seagulls.

It pained me to do it, but I walked away. I told the man at the bookstore that I couldn't help the bird and he said he'd let the animal control person know (if they showed) where it was.

I finished my walk and went home.

If the bird had been a hawk or eagle or a bird near extinction, there would be some place that could help the bird, but because it was a seagull, no one cared.

Why is it that certain species get all the attention and others don't?

I watched people walk by the bird, looking down at it, maybe pausing for a second, visibly upset by the pitiful scene, then kept walking.

If it had been a cat or dog limping around, people would have acted sooner, i'm sure of it.

Who am I to judge when I couldn't follow through with helping the bird? Maybe it was the birds' journey to go through that fall? Who knows for sure.

When most people see pigeons, seagulls, small birds, or squirrels injured, they think nothing of it.

I lived down south for a bit and I remember being so disturbed by how much "road kill" there was there. It was very common to see several possums, skunks, or animals from the rodent family killed on the road daily.

I suppose if you are used to seeing something every day, it becomes common place.

I still get upset when I see animals dead on the road. No matter what species it is.

All life matters.....well, maybe not mosquitoes......ok....even mosquitoes I suppose.

This experience just got me thinking about how we as humans put a kind of value on certain species. Like that police officer said.... "Not for seagulls".

I went by the same place the next day and there was no sign of the injured bird. I really hope the animal control officer DID come by and maybe it's getting the help it needs. Or maybe.....I don't want to think about the other option. I choose to think it's getting help.

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