The baby bird fell from a tree we had just gathered around before beginning the set up. It landed right at the feet of our group. Startled, a few of us jumped back, and more than one “Oh” was heard. The wee thing cheeped loudly as it hopped in the grass, clearly unable to fly. We looked from one to another, no one quite sure what to do.
“We’ll need to get it to some place safe before we begin setting up and before the people and dogs arrive,” someone finally said.” Let’s get it in a container without touching it. We can try to figure out how best to return it to its family once they’ve all gone.”
The rest of us agreed and we all looked around for a suitable container, finally settling on an empty pop can box , which was placed behind the registration desk that I was to man for the Oregon basset Hound Games, the cause that had gathered us at the park that day. As I organized papers and other materials, I could hear the little bird chirping and scratching in the box. I talked to it as I got the registration desk set up, imagining its chirps were responses to my queries and comments. I checked on her occasionally (I had come to think of her as a her), as people began registering. Once things got busy, though, I forgot about my tiny companion sitting on the table behind me.
The registration table got quiet as the events began and I had time to check on my little friend once more. At first, I thought she was sleeping, finally relaxed in her temporary home. And then, suddenly, I realized my error. The baby bird we’d tried to save had died. Was it something we had done, I wondered, tears filling my eyes? Had she been fatally wounded by the fall? Maybe she had been pushed out of its nest.
Thoughts of my little friend kept a hold on my mind as I enjoyed the antics of the basset hounds participating in the Games. When the Games and the clean-up were over, I took her in my hands for the first time. She was so light, she felt weightless! I looked around the park for a suitable burying place and found one, away from the paths and in a secluded area. I found a sheltered spot at the base of a tree and buried her there. I said a little prayer for my little friend before I turned and made my way back to my car for the drive home.