We had ventured outside to replenish the food pantry, although in reality, we had enough food to last months. Our excuse was that I was missing the essential chocolate and hubby needed to get his laptop checked as he had broken the speaker system. How did he do that you may ask? If you saw the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding you may remember the scene where the young woman gets nervous and proceeds to walk away from her computer with her headset connected and still on her head. Hubby did not pull the laptop off the desk during his quick retreat, but it seemed that he destroyed the plug-in port and needed to get a USB replacement. (He is the most expensive computer user I know!) Anyway, I digress...terribly.
We went to the big box store where we could save hundreds of dollars by spending hundreds of dollars and managed in a short time to fill the shopping cart with big boxes of stuff. Paper towels, pasta, chocolate, coffee...you know...the essentials of life.
The winter winds continued their bitter stomping through our neck of the woods and they shoved us across the parking lot like tough bullies. Loading the car took careful speed as our fingers froze and frozen wind whipped down our necks and pulled bags from our grip.
It was on our drive home as we turned into our wooded neighborhood that we saw this wounded, or what appeared to be wounded, cedar waxwing. He was hopping ever so slowly across the road. He would hop once or twice and then seemed to catch his breath thinking about whether he had energy to hop again. As we approached he stopped hopping and just sat there in the middle of the road maybe hoping his suffering would finally come to an end under the wheels of our car. Hubby looked at me and I looked at him. Finally I said that we needed to see if we could help. (My loyal readers will remember another encounter we had with an unexpected woods visitor here or the time we failed to help a lovely owl with an owwie which I posted on my other blog here. I am a BIG softie for animals.)
"You get him." hubby said with decisive speed as he rubbed his hands between his legs and sat back against his seat stoically indicating he was definitely going to remain in the warmth of the car.
I opened the door and moved slowly to the front of the car expecting this fragile gift of life to fly into the sky leaving me cold and startled. But the small bird continued to just sit there and then surprised me by hopping across the road and with some effort toward my feet! He stopped and actually looked up at me! Honest!
I bent down to lift him and was very surprised that he did not struggle in anyway. He just snuggled into the warmth of my leather gloved hands like he had come home to mama. I returned to the car and realized that I had no hands to open the door. Hubby had to lean across the seat and open the door. I am thankful to have exercised recently and maintained my sense of strength and balance as stepping up into a large SUV while holding your hands out in front of you in a prayer and getting into those high seats requires considerable strength and balance.
Cedar waxwings up close are the most divinely colored birds. They are gray and brown and yellow and even a little peach and look as though they were wrapped in the softest velvet. They wear a dark velvet mask across their sparkling black eyes, intriguing Zorros of the bird world. (They also are very messy if you read my post on my other blog a while back.)
This little waxwing peaked his eye through the space between my thumb and forefinger, but made no effort to push his tiny head through the opening. He just watched my face as we headed home and made no sound.
We have a fragile bamboo bird cage that has never held a bird. It was purchased in Indonesia or Panama...I cannot remember from which roadside stand so long ago. It was lovelier with the natural bamboo, but I was in my cottage phase of life and painted it white and hung it covered in silk flowers in my sun room decades ago. The cage now sits in the basement with dusty abandon. Hubby got this cage into the garage and we released the bird inside. I took him into the house and filled a small bowl with water. Since we have well water, I did not have to worry about the chlorine. Zorro proceeded to poop three times (they are from the Bombycilla family) and then jumped feet first into the small water bowl and drank heartily.
I sighed as these were good signs.
I could study him now and saw that one of his wings looked slightly askew and showed the blood red wax tip on one of his secondaries that is the reason they got their name.
I knew that they don't eat bird seed but placed a little on the floor of the cage, just in case. I also put in several small pieces of fresh date and dried cranberry. Hubby went outside to find juniper berries, without success, and by the time he returned it was dark and I had place the bird on the floor of the laundry room and put a beach towel over the cage so that he would not die of stress or fear. It is late in the evening and I have not heard a peep out of him. If he lives, I will call the rescue office tomorrow.