Saturday, June 14, 2008

On birds

In as much as I have this inclination towards travel and flight most especially, I find my recent run-ins with avians most interesting. I am referring to birds and flying mammals; the use of the word “avian” was just so I can have a post with this word in it – lingual vanity really.

But I digress. It started with the flock of small birds flying around the middle of Zamboanga City at dusk. Not that I haven’t seen birds in flight, mind you, but the sheer number and the audacity by which they zoom around the old buildings in downtown Zambo really brought them to my attention. It was my Hitchcock-ian moment to imagine them swooping down to pluck out eyes or ears or at the very least, lift a head scarf insouciantly. I couldn’t quite identify the small birds but they resembled small swifts with their forked tails. Nobody has given me a reasonable explanation for their behavior for many have not even noticed. A pity.

The next encounter was with an injured kingfisher near my hotel room in Boracay. I noticed the poor bird hopping weakly on the ground floor of the Boracay Courtyard last July. It was hard to miss and even harder to ignore. Here was this medium-sized bird with flashes of iridescent green plumage rarely observed in the country struggling to fly at my hotel door. So I did the most logical me-thing to do: pick it up. The bird was futilely pecking at my hand but I guess the bloody wound just under its right wing was just too painful. I squeezed it into a wine carton to keep it calm and relatively immobile. I debated with my friends on what to do since bringing it back to Manila would have been impractical and possibly illegal. I went from hotel concierge to hotel concierge asking for the nearest DENR office but nobody seemed to know. Finally, I saw a vet’s office that was closed but still had a light on. The good doctor took the bird in and refused my offer for monetary assistance. God bless him.

The last time was a weekend ago when I noticed a small bat clinging to the sidewalk just outside the house. It was safe to assume that the bat was dehydrated given the humidity so I pulled the towel off from my back then wrapped it up. It quickly latched on so I moved it indoors, hoping for it to survive at least the night. I left to attend to other appointments and got back home late. By then, my sister reported, that the bat not only recovered but was flying around. She wasn't too thrilled, of course and neither was my mom, but I was so excited to have rescued my little bat. We pretty much left it to its own devices overnight.

We didn't see it for the better part of the day but as soon as I got back home around midnight, my sister called me upstairs to deal with the bat. It's second night was just as exciting as the first but the little one had now settled in full view. It was on the towel covering the bean bag. I took another face towel and covered it. It was bleating (if i can call it that) then retreated further into the depths of the large towel. I then took it to the balcony where, I hoped, it would fly. I checked on it several times during the night but it was still there. I moved the towel to a less drafty position so the bat wouldn't get the chills then hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the best was not to be had. It was a cold little corpse in the morning.

I am still despondent over the loss but wouldn't have known to care for it anyway. I now plan to build a shelter against the side of the balcony using plans I managed to get from the internet. Then study up on bat care so that my next furry flying friend will find a home in mine.

No comments: