One beautiful Sunday last summer, I was rushing to a ceremony and had allowed just enough time to stop at the gas station where I like to buy gas. I hurriedly went in to give the attendant cash and briefly noticed to the side of the glass doors a bird which, at quick glance, I assumed was maybe a dove. I wondered why it was sitting there.
I ran into the station to get my change and back out the door. I was maybe ten feet from my car and half way there when I swear I heard “Help me, help me.” I came to a dead stop and turned to look at the bird.
Looking closer I realized it was probably a pigeon or some other larger bird that only looked small because all of its feathers were missing. The bird could not fly or even walk. It kept lifting its feet up and down, up and down, trying to go somewhere. It was going around in circles. I was stunned as I wondered how this could have happened. In shock, I noticed that all around it was little drops of what I thought was mustard. It was his poo. The bird had been circling for some time and the only movement it could make was to go around and around.
I went back into the station and the sweet young girl inside confirmed my suspicions. She said it had been there for a while and she didn’t know what to do. She was kind enough to look up the California Wildlife Organization where I volunteer annually for their fundraiser. I left a message to please either send someone out or call the station and tell them what to do. I asked the girl to call me when there had been some resolution.
During the day I was unable to get hold of her. I was distressed thinking about this precious creature and its suffering and humiliation. At the ceremony I attended I told a friend what I saw and he said maybe a cat had gotten to it. In all my years of seeing cats with birds I have never seen a cat pull feathers off a bird even if it was dead, much less alive and still able to defend itself.
When I returned to the station the clerk told me that she didn’t get a call back. I later learned the Foundation is overwhelmed and working hard to respond to calls. I wondered how few people were available or willing to give of themselves to aid injured innocent creatures. In this case, a kind employee finally took the bird to a grassy area where at least it was not exposed to everyone walking in the station and seeing it slowly suffer.
I sat with all of this for quite some time wondering what more I could do to help with limited time and resources.
The burning question in my mind was whether the bird really called out to me for help? Was it my imagination?? How was this possible???
This experience reminded me that for the past few years I have seen or heard very few birds outside. It used to be, maybe a decade ago, every morning birds would be chirping and awakening me and offering sweet sounds to start the day. For a long time I noticed that there were fewer chirps and birds, and finally, none at all.
I also saw many reports on the Internet of birds dropping from the air, many at a time, or hundreds being trapped in toxic pools. In many ways many birds seemed to be dying in unnatural ways.
On occasion I would go to the park and take crumbs for the birds but there would be no takers. I went to the beach, where birds always were everywhere looking for food and took some seeds that I got from the Wildlife fundraiser thinking for sure they would be devoured in a second. Even there I found no birds. Perhaps I went at the wrong time.
I went back to the basics. What I could do is offer gratitude to the birds I do see. I would do my best to appreciate them even more than I already did and with this in mind, I began saying out loud “thank you very much” to every bird I saw. One early evening when I went to the trash bin in the tall tree behind it there was a bird chirping. I was so happy to hear it and began thanking it a few times and turned to see someone standing to the side, I am sure wondering who I was talking to! I got an inner laugh and wanted to tell him it’s a VIB, very important bird.
I thanked the birds, not often enough because there were so few. One evening I came home from work and in spite of the huge mess due to the construction work going on at my apartment building, to my surprise, a bird came, landed on the rail and was chirping away! The amazing thing to my eyes was that it had a white belly. In all the years I lived there I had never seen an adorable bird with a white belly. I was delighted and I offered gratitude as long as it remained there. I looked on the Internet and it may have been a Black Phoebe. I thought it interesting I should see such a bird at that time. I was even more amazed when a couple of evenings later I came up the steps of the parking structure and two birds flew before me, a few feet from my face. They were chirping madly and had beautiful orange bellies. They went to a large weed that had sprung out of the cement, briefly flitted about it and took off. They seemed so happy and communicating like they were in love and the world was perfect. A site for sore eyes for sure!
Coincidence? Not in my experience. I have long known that what we appreciate expands. I made a mental note to increase this practice even more in all areas of my life!
As time has passed, I now have birds come to greet me in various ways in so many different places. The delight they bring is in addition to the joy they reflect in me. By expressing the gratitude in my heart I was able to touch nature and see its magnificent response.
I invite others to actively take this step and offer gratitude out loud on a daily basis saying ‘thank you very much’ as often as possible to any sentient being and take notice. Perchance, I came across the National Geographic website and saw they have 2018 as being the year of the bird which made me think offering them gratitude would also be a way to honor their special year! May our love and gratitude deepen with each passing year.
Thank you very much!