If It Were A Puppy, This Entry Would Be Very Different [ 2005-11-06, 8:48 p.m. ]

We live in the garden apartment of a brick townhouse, and through the windows of our bedroom we can see the bottom half of whatever is going on out on the street. I saw legs stopped in front of our building yesterday afternoon, as I wrangled the dog into her leash and collar. We left the apartment and found two people stopped and taking pictures of our apartment with camera phones. Then I looked down and saw what they were taking pictures of; the dog saw it at the same time and lunged.

A big grayish-brown bird with a black mask and white markings was walking through the small courtyard area outside our bedroom windows, heading towards the garbage cans. It hopped up to the steps of the stoop next door and walked up and down our neighbors’ stairs. It looked (to me) like a cross between a pigeon and a duck, and the couple with the camera phones said they had followed it down the street – the bird had been walking up and down the block apparently, making no move to fly, walking slowly and calmly, stopping here and there in various front stoop areas and climbing stairs.

I’m not really familiar with birds and truth be told, I kind of ABSOLUTELY hate them (it’s the feathers and the flapping and the WINGS ICK THE WINGS), but I watched “Winged Migration” and can admire nature’s beauty, or whatever. And I am a sucker for a lost animal, no matter the genus or species, and this bird looked LOST. I took the dog for a brief walk, and on our way back home, we saw the bird again. Still on our block, now just a few houses east of our building, still walking slowly down the sidewalk. Not looking for food, as far as anyone could tell (and by this time neighbors were gathering here and there, taking pictures and playing Smarter Than Thou by offering guesses as to what the bird was and where it came from), not a pigeon or dove or duck (the extent of my bird-identifying abilities), and most likely not supposed to be walking around Cobble Hill.

When I came back inside with the dog, I immediately sat down and began trying to identify the Fancy Bird via Google. Which is not easy to do. I Googled, “birds that don’t appear to fly” and “gray birds” and “birds with masks” and “identifying birds” and “birds that aren’t from Brooklyn” and finally, “BIRDS.” And there is a lot on the internet devoted to birds. But there was no site easily accessible featuring lots of big, shiny pictures of birds with captions saying, HEY IS THIS WHAT YOU SAW BECAUSE IF SO, YOU SHOULD CALL SOMEONE AS BIRD IS FAMOUS/CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT/ENDANGERED/AFFLILIATED WITH FAMOUS CAUSE/RELATED TO PALE MALE/ABLE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE IN NEW AND EXCITING WAYS.

I went outside again, this time with my camera, and figured I would take a picture of the Fancy Bird and somehow ask the internet HEY WHAT THE HELL IS THIS? But of course, I couldn’t find the bird on demand. And even though I was very concerned for the Fancy Bird’s well-being, I eventually abandoned my search and went back inside to try out my new eyeliner and have a glass of wine, and then I got ready for Brit’s 30th Birthday party. The Fancy Bird was forgotten as I discovered bigger and more immediate problems, like What kind of bra do I wear under silky cami top, and Should I bring paper plates for the cake or not. I decided against paper plates and wore a bastard bandeau bra under the silky cami top, which by night’s end was more or less serving as a spandex belt.

On Sunday morning when I took the dog out (and there was no question that it would be ME taking the dog out come morning, as husband celebrated Brit’s birthday with more enthusiasm than perhaps he should have, and ended the night with enthusiastic vomiting) we (and by we I mean me and dog, because SHE IS MY BABY and we are a Family Unit) saw the Fancy Bird around the corner, on Clinton Street, in front of the brownstone that we refer to as Bad Boy Brownstone, on account of the teenagers always coming and going and playing loud music. Crazy kids.

But the poor Fancy Bird was still walking around, still looking lost, still attracting pedestrian attention, and still Unidentified. I talked to our upstairs neighbor, who thought it might be some type of quail, and to our next door neighbor, who thought it might be a lost pet. But this poor Fancy Bird looked decidedly un-petlike; it looks more like dinner, to be honest. But it is a lost bird, for sure.

At home (meaning Home, as in The Place Where I Grew Up Which Will Always Be Home To Me) there is an organization which will come and rescue lost and injured wildlife (and also lend animals out in a library-fashion, which was terrific when I was seven and wanted a bunny, but only for a little while, but yields eye-brow raising when I mention it in conversation now), and if I knew of a comparable organization that could come to the aid of Fancy Birds, I would call. But I don’t. And I just feel so bad for the bird.

[A funny aside about my brother and the weird animal rescue library museum place: he was driving with his high school girlfriend at night and they saw an injured animal on the side of the road. The pulled over and apparently felt the need to help the bleeding, injured animal. M. knew about the animal rescue facility, so he and his girlfriend pulled a shoebox out of the trunk and used a t-shirt or towel or something to ease the animal into the box, then drove it to the “hospital,” at which point they were informed that the RAT would be fine. GAG.]

I don’t have any resolution to the Fancy Lost Bird story, and I am not going to attempt a flaccid metaphor about being lost in the city, blah blah blah, but I worry about that poor bird. It was just walking up and down our street. And I have no idea where it came from, or how it got here, since flying seems to be a last resort in this bird’s case.

In other news, if you eat a cake like this, be prepared for some surprises from your digestive track as it processes dark blue food coloring:

More photos are here .

Oh! And wee baby brother, who is now 23 and over 6’ tall, just got engaged! To wee little sprite who I love and adore and now I will have TWO sisters, sort of, because oldest brother (he of the Rat Rescue) is getting married in March, and I am very much in love with both sisters-in-law-to-be, so my other sister-in-law can SUCK IT HARD.

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