Peggy and Wayne Kitchin — Arizona
A Pigeon's Flight To Rescue
I'm writing to you to tell you of a small miracle involving a bird that people seen to deem unimportant.
Two weeks ago, I walked into my yard to find an injured pigeon. It was weak and couldn't fly. One of its wings was injured. The feathers were broken, an there was blood on some of them. I caught it and noticed a closed band on its leg. I took down the number and date and called the local fish and game. Tom my surprise, the voice on the line told me that they did not do anything for pigeons. I was told they'd record the number and if the owner contacted them, they would tell the owner that it died. I tried to convey that I thought this was important, but I was told it was only a pigeon!
Since they weren't going to help me, I made some more phone calls and even got on the Internet. Finally, I found the number for a man in Maryland that races pigeons, and he called the owner.
They picked up the pigeon, but I learned that some people don't find some animal important. However, I would have done the same thing for ANY animal.
Later, my husband told me that he saw the pigeon get clipped by a van 1/2 mile down the road (there aren't sidewalks or pullover lanes). The pigeon past many houses until it reached my front door. I wonder how it knew that I wasn't going to be on to just "let it die." I am very proud that the bird will race again one day, because I refused to give up on it.
Angie Smith — New Hampshire
Disabled Body, Healthy Spirit
I am going to tell you a true story, one with, thankfully, a happy ending. I want to tell this story to your readers. If it will prevent one tragic situation of someone losing a bird they love, then I am happy to embarrass myself in the process.
My husband, Wayne, and I own six birds. Our Congo African grey, Rio, was given to us a year ago by a friend that was no longer able to keep her. She is 13 and smart as a whip. Quite the sarcastic little thing she is, laughing at you when you do something stupid or funny, making wet "raspberry" noises when she isn't interested in your attention. She is a delight.
We used to have parakeets. Spinner and Weena were with us for 13 years. They had PBFD but lived long, happy lives. After they passed, we purchased baby peach-faced lovebirds. We has them for almost a month before we named them "I Go" and Me Too!" Obviously well named, I Go is the first to try anything, and Me Too follows with great joy and excitement. As luck would have it, I Go and Me Too turned out to be male and female. After six unsuccessful tries, they had babies, and three of them survived. The story I am about to tell you is about the littlest one that we call Peanut. Peanut seems to have a muscle problem with his legs. I took him to the vet, and the doctor banded his legs together to train his muscles. The little thing hops with gusto, and as this story will tell, he flies pretty darn well too.
We have been building a workshop on our property. Yesterday, after a long, hard day in the Arizona sunshine, I came in to get dinner started. I took little Peanut out and put him on my shoulder. He fell asleep there and looked so cute. I took him our to show my husband and as Wayne was putting his finger to get Peanut to step "Up," Peanut took off flying. We live next to a wash. This is a large, open space for drainage with desert growth in abundance. Wayne and I took off like bats out of you know where. Peanut's wings were left longer by the vet, because of his leg problem. He soared over our house, the trees and was nowhere to be seen. We searched under and over every rock, cacti, bush and tree.
After nearly 30 minutes of calling him, I had given up hope. I was just roaming around calling his name and crying. Wayne, however, kept up the search and along came a man with two little dogs. At the same time, Wayne hollered, "Come here. I've found him!" Well, the little dogs spotted him too. Peanut was in a bush, huffing and puffing from his big flight, when the littlest dog jumped and barked at him. Peanut was off again. I cried and yelled at the man to put his dogs on a leash. He, not so kindly, suggested I do the same with my bird.
Peanut soared over two roofs and went into the back yard of our friend across the street. We ran into the yard to see him fly into a very tall tree. Finding a little green bird in a very big green tree was a daunting task. Wayne spotted him again. He was on the very top branch. Wayne told me softly to go home and get the ladder. I was on a run for the ladder and didn't hear his directive as to which ladder. I came charging across the street with our 13-foot ladder, when I found Wayne already on top of a ladder. He then once again said, "No, I meant the 'bird ladder.'" I took off again and dropped the ladder in our yard, as I rushed into the house. I grabbed the bird ladder. All the while, Rio was laughing and saying in my voice, "Bye-bye!"
I bolted back to Wayne, who was on his tiptoes at the top of the ladder, which was swaying in the wind. He put the ladder in front of Peanut, which calmly finished munching on a leaf and hops onto the ladder.
Wayne came down the ladder with Peanut in one hand and the bird ladder in the other. Wayne handed Peanut to me and proceeded to pick up the broken pieces of our friend's yard. We got little Peanut home, and he fell asleep in my sweaty palm.
Needless to say, all of our birds got their wing-feathers trimmed that night.
I got down on my hands and knees that night to give thanks for letting us get our "handicapped" little Peanut home safely. I want this to be a lesson to you. I've had birds for years and thought I knew them. I think my biggest mistake was forgetting what birds were born to do -- fly. No matter how much you love your feathered friends, and no matter how much they love you, they are born to do what comes naturally. Don't ever assume that logic that you have transfers to them. A "hobbling" bird can fly when its wings are not trimmed. Any creature we bring into our lives that we love without question or prejudice for their condition will do what comes naturally.
I am happy to say that as I sit and write this, while having to stop and wipe my tears upon re-reading this account, I am accompanied, of course, by Rio and little Peanut. Wayne and I were given a great gift yesterday. I hope our gift and our lesson will help someone out there that thinks that they have a special friend that would never leave them. They can, and they will, if given the chance. Please don't give them that chance.