Yesterday, after work, after the sun went down a little, we decided to go for a walk at the Pueblo Riverwalk. It’s one of our favorite places to walk, between 1 and 2 miles, lovely water, no worries about traffic, etc. At the “top end” where we start, we usually let Peaches off the leash for a bit as there are normally not very many folks walking.
It was this way that we headed yesterday evening. Off to the left, out of the photo, is a bank with trees, just a few steps up above the walkway which is separated by low stone walls with a couple of openings leading to the parking lot beyond. As we made our way around towards the top circle, G called my attention to a baby bird that was sitting on a small sucker branching off one of the trees. Of course, with my love of baby birds, I just had to go a bit closer, so I walked up the stone steps that were near the tree and got within a couple of feet of the baby. He was perfectly camouflaged against the tree, his breast a mottling of rust and brown patterns. He had all of his “grown-up” feathers with just a few wisps of baby down left. I couldn’t tell exactly what kind of bird he was, but I was betting on either a robin or a flicker. Either way, he was beautiful. He didn’t move at all as I watched him, but when I turned around to go back to the walk way, he took a leap and fluttered right to the curb on the edge of the railing next to the water.
Peaches, her curiosity roused by the movement and not on her leash, HAD to go sniff. We knew that she wasn’t going to hurt the bird, but G yelped when the poor thing flew off the railing and landed, Plop! in the water. G was beside herself. We knew the baby would drown if he couldn’t get out, and unfortunately, the water was a couple of feet below the walk way and the railing itself made it nearly impossible to reach over or through. With G nearly in tears over this bird, I had to think fast.
G always walks with just the clothes she’s wearing. She laughs at me for always putting on my hat:
So, in just a moment, I whipped off my hat, slid the belt out of the holster and tied it to the chin strap of the hat and lowered my makeshift lifesaver down to the water were the poor baby bird was now beating his wings against the wall, trying in vain to gain some kind of purchase. My hat, which is made of 75% paper, took a moment to sink into the water, but finally it did and we managed to drag it over towards the baby, who finally got turned around enough to get his little feet and claws onto the fabric of the hat. G drew up my makeshift contraption in a hurry and I gently detached the exhausted little bird and carried him back to the grass and put him down in a warm, sunny spot with his wings out to dry. His poor eyes were squinched shut and he was panting, but otherwise he was unharmed. His parents were swooping and diving around, so we didn’t linger, but went on for our walk knowing that once he recovered and dried off a little, he would most likely be fine. My lesson: Regardless of how cute they are, and how up close I’d like to see them, leave the baby birds alone! Oh, and always wear a hat and a belt when you go out walking. You never know who might need rescuing!