Monday, May 2, 2011

Western Tanager Heartbreak


I am crushed and can't shake off the heartbreak. I know how stupid this is going to sound to some of you but I can't help my feelings. The last couple days I've noticed a Western Tanager in our backyard. These birds are not a common visitor on our property and it's a treat to see them. I've been enjoying his visits to the oranges I put out for the Orioles. In retrospect, I noticed this bird was a little on the slow side but hadn't given it much thought. Perhaps it was already sick when my Emma (one of our cats) caught it and brought it in the house. I spotted it on the floor of our living room and her watching it when I came back through the room. She's a cat ... her brain is wired that way and I know it's not her fault. I know the consequences of having indoor outdoor cats. I don't need anyone giving me a noodle lashing here. We have a outdoor Lab that will catch and kill birds and rabbits. I don't like that either. But I know she can't help it .. her brain is wired that way too. I'm not getting rid of our pets. They are my babies. Most of you will understand my feelings here.

I picked the Tanager up (gloves on) and let it outside. It could only 'hop fly'. I just didn't have the heart to leave this thing on the ground so I put it in one of our unused bird boxes in the front yard. I didn't know what else to do. I searched on the net and found our nearest "Wild Animal Rehabilitation Center" which is in Tucson. Not really all that close. I called the number and got a hold of a woman. She really couldn't help me and in fact, made me feel worse than I already did by making me feel bad for having cats. Perhaps I had caught her at a bad time but I didn't feel any sympathy or any real kindness from her. I left the bird in the box and felt horrible for the poor thing. It got pretty cold last night and that killed me too. While in bed I thought to myself that if it was still alive .. I would put it in our cat carrier and bring it in the house. I should have just done that to begin with but I hadn't thought about it until I was already in bed. It WAS alive when I went back to the box this morning. Head tucked into the wings. So I went to the shed and prepared the cat carrier. I put a soft fuzzy pillow cover on the bottom of the carrier. I lined a shoe box with a soft dish towel and placed the bird in the box and put the box inside the cat carrier. I placed some water, seeds and half an orange inside the carrier. Then I put the whole carrier in our bath tub and closed the door to keep the cats away from it. An hour and a half later it passed. What a heart break. I just wish I didn't get so attached and so emotional. It's one thing to lose a close relative ... but losing a wild bird shouldn't do this to me! ugh. Below are pictures I had taken of the bird .. before all this happened.  More pictures here ..