For the Birders
By Jessica Graham
The story of Thud begins a few weeks ago on a nice sunny Saturday in my front yard. My family and I were outside doing some yardwork and soaking up some sunshine when I and my 2 dogs and 1 cat heard a “thud”. The noise was a distinct sound of something hitting my car and it wasn’t the sound of something hard like an acorn or other nut. My brain processed this difference immediately, unfortunately my animals did too. I immediately ran over just in time to see my daughter, Aerista’s cat pounce on a little bird. It was cupped in her paw going into her mouth when I got over there and made enough commotion for her to drop it.
Luckily for the little bird the animals scared off quickly and we were right by my car so it hopped to safety. My son Daniel, quickly sprang to action and got all of our pets inside. We then found our little friend wet, shivering, and with broken feather and possibly a wing, hiding under my car. We watched for a while then devised a plan to house the tiny fella until it got better. Daniel is super creative and looked around till he found something to use. It was a cat cage! Too ironic…
We cleaned it up together and felt the need to jazz up the space a bit. Daniel came up with the idea to put a stick through the cage making a perch for our little friend. I found a bit of ivy and other foliage to make it feel a little more like home. We had such a good time making our friend a new home. Then it hit me, we must call our little friend “Thud”. It seemed only appropriate since it was the noise he made when he hit my car, and might be the one thing that saved his life. I feed the birds in my yard, so we had plenty of snacks to make for Thud. He seemed to enjoy the Peanut butter crackers with bird seed ala mode the most!
We then had to go about catching the little guy. I made sure to wear protective gloves to both protect the bird from my smells and to protect me from any diseases it might be carrying. We put him in his new home and slowly he seemed to calm down and dry out.
The next day I took him to my mom’s house (S. C. Advocate Editor Dale Graham) for press day. My mom’s hobby and love are birds, so I knew she could tell me more about Thud. She informed me that thud was a titmouse and a baby one at that. He more than likely had a bad learning experience with flying and would have been lunch meat if we hadn’t heard his thud. She told me that he would be better off in his own environment as long as he can get to safety from my own dogs and cat. As we finished the paper he was hopping around up to his perch, to the floor, to the side of the cage. He seemed stronger as he pecked on the cage, seemingly anxious to go home. I knew she was right. Thud needed to go home even if he couldn’t fly just yet.
So I waited for Daniel to come home on the bus so he could say goodbye to Thud before we let him go. It was a bitter sweet moment when we opened his cage but what happened next, we would have never imagined.
(Continued next week)