Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I don't encounter a lot of wildlife at work. Once a friendly puppy bounded into my office, but it was promptly removed. Another time I caught a giant venomous spider in a plastic cup - perhaps a suitcase stowaway originating from the American west - and set it free in our parking lot. Last night was one of those rare brushes with the animal kingdom. The lull in incoming phone calls was interrupted by a bird thumping against our picture window.

My co-worker Heather and I leaned close to the glass to get a good look, hoping it was not dead. The bird tumbled back onto the concrete, its wings flung awkwardly to the side and the wind knocked out of its lungs. Soon it began twitching, its chest heaving violently.

"That's it. The bird's fizzling out," I said sadly.

Our picture window is tinted like a pair of FBI sunglasses. During the day, you can't see in from outside unless you are pressing your nose to the glass. Heather speculated that the bird might have been somehow impaired before the impact. Such a collision seemed otherwise unlikely.

"Maybe it was having a stroke as it was flying by the window," she suggested.

"Or a brain aneurysm," I offered. "It probably has all sorts of neurological damage now."

I kept trying to envision the bird straightening out and flying away like it was nothing. In reality, the quick little pulses of the bird's chest did not make the situation look more hopeful. Now its tail was pointing upwards, it seemed to be curling into a ball. It's gauzy bird-soul was rising to the deck of the ship, trying to balloon its way to the avian heavens.

"I think it's having a seizure," I said. "What can we do? Should I give it CPR? What if it has a family?"

I imagined how mouth-to-beak resuscitation might work and what sort of diseases I might get from performing it on an accident victim. I considered going on break and bringing it breadcrumbs from the kitchen. Maybe the resulting sugar rush would give it the energy it needed to resume flight. I felt so helpless just watching and not taking action.

I left the office for a few minutes to use the copy machine. When I returned, the had bird flipped upright, looking tired, slouched, and hung-over. My hopes were skyrocketing.

"I wish it would just fly away like nothing happened," Heather said. We were still hovering at the window with our eyes on the concrete ledge below. I kept picturing the bird fluttering into a nearby tree. Suddenly, the bird straightened its posture, took a few hops in place, and flew into the bushes.


  1. Yay!! I'm glad the bird was okay and flew away! Maybe it was daydreaming and it flew into the window. Or maybe it was texting and flying! Bad combo!

  2. Probably texting and flying, it's every bird's greatest vice. ;)