A Bird in the Hand

By: Patty Mondore

Volume 19, Issue 2, February 2024

I was paddling back to shore after a lovely morning kayak ride. I was not too far from home when I noticed a strange splashing motion in the water a little way downstream. Having had some encounters with strange splashing objects (beavers, muskies, etc) in the past, I was hesitant to get too much closer but . . . since when have I ever passed up the opportunity for a River adventure? As I approached the splashing object, to my surprise I could see it was a little bird making all of that commotion.

“How in the world did you end up way out here, little guy?” I asked, as he bobbed under the water again, only to shoot back up, frantically flapping his wings and gasping for air. This was not a good situation at all. And it appeared he did not have much time left before he would succumb to the cold water. There was no chance he would make it to shore. So, as it seems I have done in the past, I gently reached out my paddle and pushed it under the drowning bird in my attempt at some kind of sea rescue. It took several attempts but I was finally able to lift the waterlogged and weary creature up out of the water on the paddle.

Now, keeping in mind the normal function of a kayak paddle, I found myself in a bit of a dilemma as the boat slowly began to drift downstream while the exhausted bird and I stared at each other. After considering my limited options I spoke to my passenger and said, “Okay little guy. I need to move you over to the bow of the boat so we can get both get out of here safely.”

After a few awkward and uncertain motions, I was able to deposit my precious cargo onto the bow so I could regain use of the paddle. Once he realized he was momentarily safe and dry, the little bird spread his soggy wings out, closed his eyes, and began to tremble.

Now what do we do?

I realized that the sooner I could get him to shore the better. So I ever-so-carefully began to paddle toward our dock. By now, my husband Bob was watching the whole daring rescue and was encouraging me on, while taking pictures. The bird continued to shake but partially opened his eyes and seemed to be gazing at me as I paddled. So I chatted with him all the way to shore doing my best to assure him things would be okay (I sure hoped things would be okay).

When I pulled up alongside the dock I honestly had no idea what to do. That’s when Bob told me to hand him up to him. “With my bare hands,” I asked? But I gently picked up the trembling little bird who didn’t seem to mind at all, and placed him in Bob’s hand. I then went to land and get out of the boat and to try to figure out what we were going to do next.

Once I pulled out the kayak, I found that Bob had gently set the little trembling bird on a grassy spot in the sun. Our best guess was that he was a juvenile robin. At that point, the little bird became motionless and his eyes were shut. Bob softly warned me as I sat on the ground by the little bird that it was quite possibly too late and that there was nothing more we could do but wait and see, and let nature take its course. As if he heard, the little bird opened one eye and weakly peeped.

The handoff

I leapt to my feet. “He needs a blanket to keep warm, something to eat . . . bird seed, worms, anything.” I set some seeds in front of him and he seemed completely disinterested but also suddenly seemed a little wary of my presence. I then grabbed a shovel and went to look for worms while Bob went inside to try to identify the species with certainty. The little bird continued to sit in his grassy spot in the sun. It only took me a few minutes (and a few holes in the lawn) but I did find a nice fat worm.

By the time I got back, I was surprised to see the little bird was now sitting upright with eyes wide open and looking quite alert!

Lookin' good birdie!

“Breakfast is served little guy,” I said, as I reached over to set the worm in front of him. As I walked toward him, he stood up and watched me cautiously. I tossed the worm down not too far from him. He seemed completely uninterested, but instead began to peck the ground while keeping his eye on me suspiciously. He had apparently completely forgotten that I was the one who just saved his life.

I decided to try picking up the worm and moving it just a little closer. With my next step, the little bird suddenly let out a stream of chirps, hopped off the ground and flew away leaving me and my worm behind without even looking back. I could not have been more ecstatic. It certainly appeared as though our little bird was going to be just fine and no worse for the wear after his River adventure.  My daring sea rescue had been a success after all!

Yes, it probably seems like a lot of drama over a little wet bird. But there is a precedent for caring about fallen birds. We are told, “Are not two small birds sold for a very small piece of money? And yet not one of the birds falls to the earth without your Father knowing it . . . So do not be afraid. You are worth more to Him than many small birds.” (Matt 10:29-31)

Sometimes, when we are flailing around in our most difficult situations, it can be easy to forget about the one who not only sees but is able to carry us safely through whatever we are struggling with. Figure it this way: If God cares that much about a fallen bird, imagine what awaits all who call out to him when they need a daring rescue.

By Patricia Mondore

Patty Mondore and her husband, Bob, are summer residents of the Thousand Islands. Patty's most recent books include "River-Lations Revisited: More Inspirational Stories and Photos from the Thousand Islands", "River Reflections: A 90-Day Devotional for People Who Love the Water" and its two sequels, "Nature Reflections" and "A Bird Lover's Reflections." She and Bob co-authored "Singer Castle" and "Singer Castle Revisited", published by Arcadia Publishing, and co-produced "Dark Island's Castle of Mysteries" documentary DVD, in addition to a Thousand Islands Music DVD Trilogy.

Patty is a contributing writer for the Thousand Islands Sun. Her column, "River-Lations", appears in the Vacationer throughout the summer months. The Mondores are online at www.gold-mountain.com. (Be sure to also visit Bob's singercastle.blogspot.com.) See Patty's most recent TI Life Articles here and several others here and here!

Posted in: Volume 19, Issue 2, February 2024, Nature

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