Thursday, March 25, 2010

injured bird - what to do

(In lieu of TMI Thursday, today's post is dedicated to the topic of bird rescue and contains info condensed from several older posts.)
Because it's springtime and birds are gearing up for nesting, they're less cautious then usual and will sometimes fly into traffic in a mating chase. Please be especially watchful when driving. If you do find an injured bird, don't handle it directly with your hands but use paper towels or some other barrier. (Not what I'm doing here with my bare hands... do as I say, not as I do! lol. I did once handle a bird that was full of mites, that's why it's a good idea to protect yourself.)

Ovenbird
"For some reason, this little bird couldn't fly. I grabbed it and rushed it to a wildlife rehabber. Here it is, cupped gently in my hands. Poor thing was terrified. Best thing to do for injured birds is to keep them covered so it can't see (if holding it, cover the face or else drape a cloth over its container), otherwise stress worsens their condition. The rehabber told us we could hold a q-tip near the bird's beak and let some drops of water fall so the bird could take them if it wanted. She also said traditional wisdom for wildlife rehab is not to do anything for the first 24 hours because animals are in shock and need time to calm down."

Links to wildlife rehabilitators:
U.S wildlife rehabilitators
(searchable by state)
Maryland wildlife rehabilitators:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
1-877-463-6497 or 410-260-8940
*24 hour line that provides names and numbers of licensed wildlife rehabilitators

Maryland Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
(Directory of people who are certified in animal rescue -- sometimes you can bring an animal or bird directly to someone's house instead of a facility.)
410-255-4737

Davidsonville Wildlife Sanctuary
Davidsonville, MD
410-798-0193

Second Chance Wildlife Center
Gaithersburg, MD
301-926-WILD

In some counties, you can call Animal Control and they will pick up the injured animal and transport it to a rehabber for you. (I did this last year with another bird -- Prince George's County Animal Control sent out a van to get the bird and bring it to a certified wildlife animal rehabilitation facility.)
It is polite to offer a donation to help with the burden of expenses.
Sometimes the injuries are too great and there is no hope for rescue. I've swerved off the road more than once after seeing a hit to find the poor bird already gone. In those cases, it made me feel better to donate a small sum to a bird-centric organization in the hope that honoring a small creature's life will help another:
It is a myth that touching a baby bird will cause its mother to reject it. If you see a nestling, search for a nearby nest and place it back if you can. More advice on rescuing nestlings -->.

Lastly, here is an excellent resource from the Maryland Ornithological Society on resources for saving birds in Maryland: www.mdbirds.org/conservation/rehab/rehab.html

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Update. And thank you.

Sigh. Maybe I should call this blog "Spleeness's catalogue of loss."

But I haven't lost her yet.

I've been visiting a friend in the hospital the past few of days; someone on the tail end of a brutal fight with cancer that is expected to end soon. It's gutting. I have so much I want to write about but I'm not sure how right now. She's not dead yet. And recording it now somehow feels like I'd be writing a eulogy and I just can't. Right now I am trying to celebrate her life, spend what little time there is left together. Later I will deal with the loss. Not now.

I wanted to thank you for coming to my blog and reading my words. My last post was heavy. But I've been thinking. If loss is what makes us old, then what makes us young must be a sense of community. And I get that from you. In ways you may not even fully realize, you have been here for me.

Thank you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Visiting Allison.

I began writing this post in a dream.

I was 1,000 miles from home and visiting a college bookstore when I suddenly ran into my childhood friend, Allison, my best friend from about ages 6-12 before I moved away. I was somehow traveling backwards through time. I didn't ask how -- dreams are funny like that. I just knew it was happening.

She was young and beautiful in my dream, a sophomore in college. She was with her boyfriend who I knew would soon become her husband.

I watched her peruse through merchandise and pick up party lights."Ah," I thought. "You were not yet dead." She didn't know that two years from then she'd be gone, a victim of childbirth gone terribly wrong.

I went over and talked to her in my dream, wanting so badly to hold onto our conversation, the connection. Outwardly it seemed light, airy. We laughed together. I winced inside. She couldn't possibly know or understand that her foreshadowed death rattled around in my innards like a broken bottle, that I needed to double over and wrap my arms around myself to hold in the pieces that were coming apart.

One of the tiny lightbulbs dropped on the floor and bounced but did not break. I bent over to pick it up and thought, "Is this what it's like when you travel back in time to spend an instance with someone?" I thought. "Consumed only with when you would lose them, unable to fully enjoy the moment?"

I wanted to cry great racking sobs for the future as I knew how it would play out. I felt shorted. I went back to see her -- worked so hard for this moment -- and yet even then could not bring back the innocence that existed before I knew the pain of her loss.

We continued our light banter. I swallowed more glass. I found her a sweater she could wear on her way home. There was some comfort in giving her that, on that last occasion that I would see her. And we parted. She bought her party supplies. I watched her fade and slowly became conscious that I was dreaming. That's when I began writing this post in my head.

I woke up thinking of her and of all the other losses in my life I would know one day. How I'd be forever changed by each one, bent and gnarled like a charred, twisted oak, scarred by countless storms and fires.

Maybe this is the thing that makes us old. Loss. Because it robs us of our innocence that the world will stay as we know it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wear a spider on my chest? Really?

I cannot believe I am voluntarily electing to wear a spider on my chest.

I just bought this:

The spiders? They're real. I know because I met the photographer and he told me all about how he took the photo in Cambodia.

Cambodian spiders?

They're WICKED.

Photographer Jack Whitsitt writes:
"At one of the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, I turned around and found this beast hanging right in front of me. It was huge. Usually, when faced with spiders of this size, I just scream like a little girl. This time, though, the legs just creeped me out so badly I just moaned. Neither my wife nor my friends were near by at the time...ugh. But then the photographer in me took over and I got the shot. Finally, I put it on a tshirt because I figure, if confronting the things that scare him makes Batman stronger, maybe I should try it too. ;)"

(Oh and the original photo is here on Flickr.)

Get your own spider tee --> http://bit.ly/spidertee (just don't wear it around me, k? I can *wear* it because I won't be able to *see* it but if you have it on, we can't hug or anything. Understood?)

Monday, March 1, 2010

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