My last post was premature; as soon as I finished typing it, my computer went nuts. I hauled it into the shop and have only just gotten it back, speedy and now, hopefully, digi-crab free. Perfect timing to tell you about my bizarre creature morning of yesterday.
Remember the sparrow that decided to fly onto my head last summer and sit there for a few minutes? Singing? This isn't quite so dramatic but still worthy of being relegated to the "weirdo animal stories" category. Once again, I was walking into work. It was morning and the sky was doing that hissing sound, the kind when it can't make up its mind if it wants to rain or not. I love moody weather, and was grinning up at the sky and stumbling a bit while simultaneously reading a text on my phone.
I glanced ahead and saw a rabbit sitting, bold as brass, in the middle of the sidewalk. It was about ten feet away from me. I stopped, enchanted, waiting for the usual low-earred panic and dash that usually comes with such an encounter. Instead, he just sat there, seemingly unconcerned, and stared at me with big bunny eyes. He wasn't crouched, or tense, or nervous in any way. That made me nervous; I remembered being chased by a crazy raccoon years ago and didn't want to be attacked by some vorpal bunny with rabies. But he wasn't foaming or twitching or acting sick. He even started grooming his fur, exactly as if there wasn't a six foot tall human right in front of him. I kept up a gentle stream of cooing, admiring his lovely coat and handsome ears, and he paused occasionally to look at me, then kept primping. Finally, I glanced at my watch and said, "Sorry, Bunny Bunny, but I've got to get to work." I stepped sideways onto the street so as not to scare him, but he remained laid back and fur vain. Grinning, I passed by and continued on my way.
Two or three blocks later, I noticed something in the middle of the road. It was still early so there weren't any cars around, and I squinted, trying to see if the tiny lump was what I thought it was. A few steps closer and I was sure. A robin sat almost smack dab in the middle of the road, settled down as if nesting. It didn't hop away or appear nervous at the sight of me, and I knew something was wrong. Robins generally gork and skitter when a human approaches. I talked softly, recognizing that it was not a fledgling but still young. His feathers were clean, eyes clear and blinking, but he wasn't standing. He wasn't listing either; just looked like he was nesting. I bent down and petted his back. He still didn't cringe away.
I've seen plenty of stunned birds in my time. I've often sat in the backyard with a handful of feathery fluff; dumb ass birds that fly into the patio window and knock themselves out. They sit just like that for a time, then fly off. I've even seen robins, especially at this time of year, when the "pootie juices are flowing" as Charles the Man used to say, knock themselves cold diving at a car side mirror. Maybe this little moron had done something like that. He didn't look sick but there was definitely something wrong. I bent and gently picked him up, heartened by his immediate shrieking and struggling. Well, that's a good sign. I straightened up and got dive-bombed by his mate or mom or whoever, cussing a blue streak at this big human with their darlin in its hand. That was an even better sign. I carried the pissed off bird to a neighboring pine and set it in a "V" in the branches, where it could be balanced and not fall off too easily. The attacking mate dove right in and glanced my head. "I'm not hurting him!" I said, and backed away. The injured robin immediately settled down and the mate hopped right over to him. Good. Best thing for him.
When I got to work, I scrubbed my hands vigorously, then dunked them in sanitizer. Creepy crawlies from feathers are not my favorite thing, ever since my ex showed me microscopic photos of bird ickies. Gross. But I'd been there to prevent Mr. Robin from becoming street pancake, as he most assuredly would have if I'd left him. When I walked home after work, he was gone. No sign of feathers or tragedy, just a splat of bird shit on the trunk.
A good deed in a wicked world, and all that. Walked home the rest of the way whistling.