Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Caw of the Wild

PP had every intention of going to the Y today, but then the Caw of the Wild interrupted and her plans could do nothing but change.


It all started yesterday, really, when PP, in her Saturday morning pre-work daze was sucking down a large coffee and trying to understand why Paris Hilton had to go back to jail. And the damn Crows! They were outside just going nuts. Cawing and swooping and CAWING and swooping and just being completely Obnoxious! PP had cursed them repeatedly in between swigs of Joe and mouthfuls of muffin.

Godamn Birds. What the Hell is their problem? They don’t have to go back to Jail like poor Paris. They had their freedom. What were they complaining about?

Well, she’d found out soon enough when she’d gone out to dump the kitty litter in the trash out back and saw It.

A poor limping pitiful baby crow….actually it looked like a teenager. Not a big full grown guy, but not a tiny baby either. It was painfully trying to make its way away from her to hide behind a trash can or under the neighbor’s porch.

PP had almost started crying.

Oh no….a hurt little crow? No wonder the other crows were so upset. Their baby was injured and they were trying to protect it or at least ward off any predators. Namely stupid Pablo.

But what to do? PP tried to approach the wounded little guy, but then it had limped away, falling on its side and then picking itself up again…before tottering under the fence and out toward the street.

Almost in tears, PP had shaken her head. What to do? What to do? She obviously couldn’t catch it, but if she didn’t catch it surely one of the cats would.

PP locked her three felines in the apt. for the day and then feeling horribly helpless and guilty got her stuff together to head off to work, but not before chatting with a tall elegant woman who had happened into the courtyard, glancing up at the cawcaphony of crowdom. PP had immediately pounced on her, telling her about the injured crow and voicing her frustration over what to do about it.

Elegant Woman shook her head, taking a long slow sip of her latte, “You know, I don’t really think you can do anything. Once I tried to rescue a dove, its chest was all bloody on its lovely white feathered breast, and I caught it in a towel and put it in a bag and took it to the SPCA and they looked at me like I was crazy and said we can’t do anything about this.” EW sighed softly. “So, I learned from that experience. It’s better to just leave Wild Life alone and let nature take its course.”

PP had nodded, gotten in the car and headed off to work, but still the image of the baby bird limping pitifully in her back side yard was so vivid and sad……she just couldn’t get it out of her head as she drove down 24 in the hazy morning light.

She had to do something!

So, she called JL, her best friend and Bird Expert who’d once saved a Wedding Dove from Mills Pool…ah, another pool story, but that’s hers. Of course, JL wasn’t answering her phone, after all, it was only 9 a.m., so PP left a message from work explaining the Crow Crisis back at her house and hoping that JL would have time on her hands to rescue the poor little guy.

Later PP got the story. How JL and PP’s neighbor, Willa, had both tried to find the injured crow. Had searched all over the compound for a good long while.

But no Baby Crow to be found.

So, JL had conjectured that it had simply been stunned and had flown away. Or someone who liked crows, people do, had picked it up and taken care of it or it had just gone off and died a quiet death in some safe place…..

PP had almost started to cry again. Why the Hell hadn’t she just stayed home from work and tried to catch it when she could have?
DAMN!

Yet she told herself that she had tried. JL and W had tried. Plus, maybe it was true what EW had said. It’s better to leave wild things alone…..

So, today, when she was washing out the cat bowls before heading off to the pool, PP was looking out her window and spied her Big White Pablo Cat slowly stalking something out in the ivy…..

Damn….she thought. What if the baby crow is still here and Pablo gets it?

Rushing out, PP had hurried over to where Pablo was slowly stalking, scooping him up just at the moment she saw the baby crow limping hopping into the safety of the ivy, the Parent Crows dive bombing and cawing up a ruckus.

Oh, no! The baby is still here! Now PP had to do something, but what?

Fortunately, Willa was around and so when PP frantically knocked on her open door, interrupting her tooth brushing, at least she had some moral support and much needed assistance.

Willa…..? Willa….? Can you help me?” PP had called out.
Wiping the toothpaste from her chin, W had stepped out, “Sure, what’s up?”
“It’s the Baby Crow, it’s here. Pablo pointed it out to me.”
”Oh, no!”
“Yeah, so can you watch it while I call Lindsey Wildlife to see if they’re open today? Of course it’s Sunday.”
“Sure….” W agreed dubiously as she followed PP out to the ivy, both of them peering into the dark mass of foilage. Sure enough, the little guy was hunkered down in the leafy sanctuary, his little beady eyes darting around, terrified.
“Poor little guy….” W murmured.
“I’ll be right back,” PP had assured her, running back into the house to get Lindsey on the line. Fortunately, she’d gotten their number from JL yesterday and so had it handy.
“Hello, Lindsey Wildlife Museum, this is Tony.”
”Hi…yes…I have an injured crow that I need to bring to you and ….you guys are open today?”
“Yes, the hospital is open till 8 pm.”
Thank God, PP thought to herself. “Oh, I’m so relieved. But I don’t know what to do. I’ve never captured a wild bird before and I don’t know what to do.”
”Of course,” Tony had soothed, “Let me get someone from the hospital to talk you through it.”
“Thanks….” PP nervously held the phone as she watched Willa ducking the dive bombing parent crows while listening to a recording explaining the amount of venom baby rattlesnakes have in their bite and how the Kingfisher can do…..what? Where the hell was the person who was gonna walk her through the Crow Capture Procedure?

PP hung up and redialed. An authoritative woman answered the phone this time. “OH, hello, I was waiting for someone to help me with how to capture a wounded crow and …..”
”Did you get put on hold for a long time?”
”Yes.”
”I can help you.”
”Oh thank goodness. I’ve never caught a wild bird before and….”
”First, let me ask you, how do you know it’s injured? It’s probably a fledgling and the fledglings can’t fly.”
”I’m pretty sure it’s hurt cuz it’s limping and falling over and oh it’s so sad….”
”Ok, yes, that doesn’t sound good. Now what you need to do it get a towel and from behind put the towel over it, covering its eyes and then pick it up, being careful not to crunch its little wings or breaking any little bones.”PP had swallowed hard. Damn. Could she do this?
“Then you need to put it in a box…”
”Will a cat carrier work?”
”Yes, that will work fine, just once you get it in the box, cover up the holes so it can’t see out. It will be scared when you pick it up and drive with all these images going by.”
Swallowing hard, PP had nodded. “Okay, I just hope I can do this….”
“You definitely can do it. Now let me give you directions to the hospital.”
”What’s your name?” PP had interrupted, thinking how glad she was to have this Crow Authority helping her.
“Wendy. Now where are you coming from? Ok, get on 24 heading…..”
PP had tried to listen and write down the directions but she was so scared and nervous at this point, esp. as she could see out the window how Willa’s ducking and the crows dive-bombing Caws had both increased in intensity.
“Ok….yes….thanks, I’ll see you soon. Thanks so much for your help,” PP had hung up, her hands shaking, her heart pounding.
Could she really do this?
Grabbing the Hawaii towel from its resting place on Parker’s chair and the cat box, PP ran outside to where Willa was crouching, the pair of angry Parent Crows cawing and diving.
“I hope I can do this,” PP had repeated nervously as she approached the baby cowering in the ivy, Willa watching anxiously from the side.
Of course, the baby hopped up and started to limp away, it’s little right wing flapping helplessly, its little body flopping over sideways in heartbreaking jerks.

PP followed it with the towel at the ready. Damn. How was she gonna capture it? The parents were cawing more frantically now, diving and flapping, as the baby hopped flopped under one of the cars and then out from under it again, resting for a moment in the driveway. PP snuck up quietly behind it to within a foot, out of its vision? Or was it just exhausted and terrified? Counting silently to herself…..1….2……3…..

PP tossed the towel gently over the little guy, landing it perfectly over the top of its little crouching body.

It didn’t move.

Willa stared at PP, mouth wide open, eyes startled wide with amazement, as PP softly approached the motionless little mound, “Willa, quick, can you run over and get the cat box?”Yes there is some irony in the crow going to the hospital in the cat box….but…..PP’s life is all about cats and so this fits. Or she hoped it would!

Running back with the box, W sat it down next to the towel mound as PP gently came up behind it, her hands shaking and heart pounding, yes, it’s cliché but true, then scooping up the little guy ever so gently and placing it in the box.
Whew!
Easier than she’d thought!
Closing the box up, both PP and W breathed a huge sigh of relief as PP got out her keys and opened up the Geo. “Hope I don’t get lost trying to find this place,” she’d admitted to Willa.
“Don’t worry, you won’t. The Hard Part is over.”PP placed the cat box on the front seat, shaking her head, still nervous as hell.

But Willa was right. The Hard Part was over.

Or was it? PP tried to shake her apprehension away. What had she done? Now she had this little wild thing in a box and.....

But Willa was right, of course. Now it was up to Lindsey to help the little guy in whatever way they could. Sighing again, still nervous as hell, PP glanced down at the towel covered cat box as she started up the car. “You’re gonna be okay, little guy,” she murmured to him gently as she backed out of her parking spot and headed out to the Crow Hospital, whistling a little bird song she hoped would soothe him as she turned onto College Ave and headed off to Walnut Creek.


Driving down Hwy 24 toward Walnut Creek in the blasting Sunday afternoon traffic, PP tired to avoid another series of bumps on the road. Damn! She’d been cursing this ‘rough road’ for months now on her way to work, but it was doubly upsetting today with the little wounded guy in tow.

PP swallowed hard as she gripped the steering wheel, hoping her wounded wild passenger would survive the trip to Walnut Creek and not die of shock or heat suffocation on the way.

Why the hell was it so far away? PP felt like she was never gonna get to Lindsey Wildlife Hospital, esp. since she didn’t know where she was going.

A little rustle fluttered in the towel-covered box on the passenger seat. Sighing, PP tried to calm her nerves. A little noise was good, right? At least she knew he was still alive. “It’s ok, little guy,” she murmured softly. “Just hold tight and we’ll be there soon.” Stepping on the gas to pass a truck loaded with piles of cardboard, PP hurled down the freeway as fast as the little Geo would take her!

Pulling into the parking lot of the Lindsey Wildlife Hospital, PP breathed a sigh of relief. She’d found it! The directions from Wendy had been excellent and fortunately PP had remembered most of what she couldn’t read in her nervously scrawled notes. Of course, waiting at the signal to change after getting off the freeway at Trent and Geary was nerve-wracking as all get out. Why the hell were the signals so Goddamn long in the suburbs? But eventually it had turned green, and Lindsey fortunately wasn’t far from the highway, safely tucked in a residential neighborhood next to a recreation center with tennis courts, baseball field and probably a pool…..

But no time for that now, as PP parked the Geo and turned off the engine, hurrying around to the side door to retrieve her precious cargo. A silver SUV pulled up alongside her and out hopped a cute young Suburban Princess with a little brown paper bag in hand, its contents making little flapping noises as PP nodded to them.

PP gently carried the cat carrier into the hospital while Suburban Princess held the door open for them. Nervously, PP entered the pandemonium of Lindsey Wildlife Hospital, the front counter momentarily abandoned as personnel scrambled back and forth between waiting rooms that the rescuers had no access to. PP set the carrier up on the counter and waited nervously for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only 30 seconds or so before a Large Pasty White Woman strode out and gave her a forthright appraisal.
“Oh, hello, are you Wendy?” PP asked anxiously.
“No, Wendy works in the museum. How can I help?”
“Oh, well, she was very helpful and well……I have an injured crow here and….”
LPWW reached for the box before nodding to a Harried Looking Latina who had appeared to run the computer. “Can you describe what’s the matter?” HLL asked as she stared intently at the computer screen. PP narrated the story once more. How the little guy couldn’t fly, and yes, she knew now that fledglings couldn’t fly, but that it was also falling over on its little shoulder and didn’t seem to be able to hop on both legs, that one seemed to be injured and…….
LPWW nodded, taking the cat carrier with her. “Do you need your carrier and towel back?”
“Oh, yeah….sure, I guess….” PP had watched nervously as she disappeared into the animal fix it cubicle. “Will he be all right?”
LLPW turned, eyeing her patiently, “I don’t know. I’ll be right back. You can give your contact info to Roxanna.”
“Your address?” Roxanna asked.
PP dutifully started with the info as LPWW came back and started talking to Suburban Princess. “What happened?”
“My cat…”
”You should really try to keep your cat indoors.”
“She was only out for about 5 minutes….”SP murmured guiltily, handing over the little paper bag.
“Address?” Roxanna asked PP.
PP rattled it off.
“Sorry, I’m such a slow typist. Can you repeat that?”
“It’s a Lavender Starling,” LPWW came back to tell SP. “And it looks like your cat did quite a bit of damage in that 5 minutes.”
SP shook her head, muttered a quiet apology. What could she do now? She was here, after all.
“There are actually quite a lot of Lavender Starlings around," LPWW continued. "They are a very common bird and we’re in no danger of running out of them….”
”That’s fine,” SP had asserted. “I understand. As long as it has a quick end instead of the long slow one my cat would have given it.”Nodding professionally, LPWW handed SP a form to fill out. “Yes, well, thanks for bringing it in.”

PP tried to keep the shock off her face. They were just gonna do nothing to save the poor little Starling cuz there were plenty of them around? Damn. Maybe Lindsey Wildlife wasn’t the place to bring her Crow in after all?

PP tried not to cry about the Starling’s fate as she watched Roxanna continue to slowly type in her contact info. Turning around, PP saw a burly white guy with his fat wife and child in tow, holding a white plastic bag full of something.
“A dead possum,” he grunted, handing the bag over the counter to a worker. “And we’ve got the babies too.”
“Run over?” the worker asked matter of factly.
“Yeah, ‘fraid so….”
PP watched aghast as the bag was taken into a back room and the babies? Were they in the bag too? Whatever was in there was not moving!

LPWW returned to PP’s anxious plea, “Will the crow be ok?”
“I don’t know. When we let him out of the carrier he just seemed like a normal crow.”
“Oh, that’s good,” PP swallowed hard. Had she brought in a perfectly healthy crow for nothing? All this trauma and he was fine? But wouldn’t that be a good thing?
“So, when will you know if he’s gonna be ok?” PP asked.
“In a few days. We have very good vets here.”
”And what will you do if he’s ok? Will you release him here in Walnut Creek? Won’t that be confusing? I mean, his Crow Family back in Oakland is very distressed.”
“Yes, crows are very social animals. We’ll take him back to his original point of origin.”
“Oh, that’s good…” PP had murmured, thinking how maybe she could stop by on her way home from work and pick him up. But no, he was out of her hands now. Right?

“So, can I call you later to find out how’s he’s doing?” PP asked.
“Sure, here’s the number and the times to call. Give us a few days before you call.” Roxanna handed her a brochure with pictures of raccoons and hawks on it in tasteful evergreen line drawings.
Swallowing hard, PP smiled weakly. Her Crow was out of her hands now. She had done everything she could. Of course she could call later, but what if he didn’t make it? Would she want to know? Maybe it was better to let it all go. But yet…..

Roxanna gave PP a harried smile, “Don’t worry, we’ll take good care of him.”
“Thanks,” PP tried for a smile back.
“No, Thank YOU for having The Heart to bring him in.”
Grinning now, PP sighed. Yes, this was what it was all about—Heart.
And with a Happy One, PP made her way out of the hospital, and back to the Geo, finally ready for her trip to the pool, now that the little guy was safely in Lindsey’s Care, a place with Heart thanks to Roxanna.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Remember " Crow and Birdie?