Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Not the best way to start the day
It all started as my oldest son Jamie was headed out the door to catch the bus to school. He looked out the window by the front door and I heard him say "Poor bird". That's never a good phrase and as I looked down, there sat a gorgeous White-throated Sparrow that had apparently hit a window.
The bird was on its feet and didn't look to have any obvious injuries, so I opened the door and was able to pick it up without a struggle - another bad sign. However, I looked at its eyes and they were open and clear and the bird would react to some movement. I decided to put the bird in a cardboard box for a while to see if it would recover.
After a short time I could hear it moving around and fluttering in the box which is a good sign. Figuring the bird would have a good chance at recovery, I decided to band it before I let it go. Unfortunately my banding equipment was at my school. No problem, I'll take the bird to school (about a mile away), band it and let it go there.
This is where it gets complicated. I have the box containing the bird with me in school and all my equipment is in my office but as I go to get the banding box, the bird is able to squeeze out of the box and fly up to sit on top of one of the ventilation ducts. To say that my students were surprised is an understatement. What to do?
I immediately got kids to cover our big windows with sheets of paper and I threw open the back door. The bird didn't make a break for it right away so I turned out the lights to try and get to move toward the door. Well, the obvious escape route was not obvious to the bird. It flew back toward the door but landed on the ledge of a small window near the door instead.
This was my chance, I jumped up on a students desk and without much effort was able to grab the escapee and safely get it outside. This is where the story gets better. Once the bird was under control the kids were able to get a very close up look at one of our beautiful native sparrows. That produced lots of questions and eventually a group was able to watch me band and measure the sparrow before letting it go.
What could have been a bad start to the day turned out to be a great teachable moment and the kids are already talking about making the White-throated Sparrow our class mascot.