(Note: During Week 1, I learned the route, but we didn't find any live birds).
6am, Citibank atm vestibule. There’s a bird illuminated by the building lights, such a contrast to the cold concrete and steel structure. Can’t identify it. It’s walking, hopping around. Going towards the glass. All turned around. I’m supposed catch that big thing? It’s physically capable but could have head trauma! I ease toward it; it runs the opposite direction. Slowly. It goes toward the sidewalk, creeping along the ledge. Good, maybe it will fly and be safe. Good. Not good? Flew to median right there on Michigan Ave. It’s so dark, flashlight in my bag, no time. There it is on the ground, still befuddled, edging toward the curb, into traffic. NO! I stay still go around the side; I don’t want to spook it more.
I watch it follow it, then it goes, flies straight up over, into the air, no buildings in its way. Heart is beat beat beating……hard to focus but I get around the other buildings on my route. No more birds….then at the last building, there’s a tiny sparrow, hopping up into the glass from the ground, manically. The bird still has a lot of energy….I take deep breaths. It’s a little dude; I can DO this.
I crouch, then notice the concierge dude, watching me with concern, but for the bird, really, not scrutinizing me. Holding my net. Bird hopping into the glass, not hard, but it couldn’t turn itself ‘round. The angle was peculiar. Can’t completely cover bird with net. Must use my hand. Make contact with first live bird. It struggles free, still possessing lotsssss of energy. Finally I get it into the bag. Safe. Bird in bag. Adrenaline pummmmping.
Now. Walking in circles, where am I parked? I never drive downtown; the upper and lower levels, which is which? Driving in circles, radio off, least amount of noise possible for birdy.
Takes way too long, finally park, race around the rest of the route. No birds, no birds….that’s fine. Meeting rescue partner who does triage in forty minutes…..then at 7:30 there is one! A little hermit thrush. Net the bird, it is still. But then it chirp! Freaks out! Throws itself about. Two layers of mesh on it, beak and feet caught. Little tiny thrush feet in my hands---literally and metaphorically! Gotta get the feet out. Finally. Oh god thank god. Still little bird, was hurt in head and body? Don’t know. Two bags, two birds (sparrow stays in car).
Then the EVIL atrium building, oh lord….birds flying in and out of this evil space….wrens, thrushes, robins…..I see them flying in there but am scared to check it out alone…. We go back as two, birds wack their heads so slightly, they escape the vortex only to return moments later! Disoriented birds! Would have netted a wren but I didn’t have my net and it was active enough to fly out, fly away. Thrush and robin in and out….pretty bad off Robin found…didn’t see it, heard it squawk. Time stands still, remain calm, disassociate….adrenaline. Heading out, dead thrush right there. Damn. Oh but before, the majestic eery crow, seeming so giant after just looking at a wren in the air. Long, lone tree branch in its beak and look! Come back and the crow is nesting right by the evil atrium, her tail sitting straight up, leaning up on her bum. Baby crows to be seen soon? How magical, yet beauty always contradicts the sadness.