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Biff America: A bad day getting worse

by Jeffrey Bergeron

It was a rough day for the little pecker-head.

I call him a pecker-head because that is what he is; but I wouldn’t wish his situation on anyone. In a matter of a few hours, his life went from one of flying high to fighting just to survive.

It began with his home being damaged by wind, rain and flooding, which caused him to fall 30 feet to the ground. His bad day got worse when he was given incompetent – though well intentioned – medical care; propped up only to fall again.

I was upstairs in my office trying to write a column when my mate called up: “Jeffrey, we have a wounded swallow in our garden. Will you give him mouth-to-beak resuscitation, CPR or something before we go for our ride?”

That is not the strangest thing my mate has ever said to me over the years. She once said: “Don’t you dare fall off that log, break your leg and ruin my summer.” And this classic: “It’s not my fault you have to wait for the plumber and can’t go skiing today; you’re the one who wants to have heat.”

Before I could even respond, it dawned on me why things were so quiet around our yard that morning. The usual activity from the swallow nest located in the eave just outside my window was absent. I looked through the glass to see it had fallen.

I ran downstairs to see my mate holding a stunned bird balanced on a Frisbee.

Two questions came to mind: “Did that bird fall off the roof and land right on my Frisbee? What luck.” And, “You’re not going to throw that are you?”

Ellen looked at me like I was crazy (she does that a lot). “No, it didn’t land on this and no I’m not going to throw it. I found the bird in the garden, it is hurt and I used salad tongs to pick it up and place it on the Frisbee because I didn’t want to touch it in case it is diseased.”

If you are like me, you are thinking if she thought the bird might be contaminated, why would she use food utensils to pick it up – and why ask me to perform CPR?

It was just then I named the bird Pecker-head.

I suggested to my mate that we leave the bird in the garden to recover. She wasn’t buying into that. “We can’t go on a bike ride and just leave Pecker-head to suffer. You stay here and care for it and I’ll go ride alone.”

She also was worried the injured avian would feel vulnerable on the ground, so she used the tongs to place him about 5 feet off the ground on a branch in the nearby tree. The wind blew a little and, for the second time that day, the bird fell to the ground.

“He is obviously too weak to perch,” my mate said. “Do we have any duct tape?”

I knew if I was going to go for the ride I needed to deal with this. I held the Frisbee up to eye level to get a better look at Pecker-head. His breathing was normal and his eyes clear and open.

With a conviction I did not necessarily feel, I said: “He’ll be OK. I think he just needs some rest. Let’s leave him in the garden to recover. I bet by the time we get back his family will have found him and brought him home.”

It came as no surprise that that statement was met with some resistance.

My mate maintained that Pecker-Head would not be comfortable outside and wanted to bring the Frisbee and bird inside our home and leave him while we took a ride. I argued that, if we left him outside his family could locate and rescue and take him to their new home. I really didn’t believe that, but I worried if we left him in our house and he did recover, he’d then fly around our home pooping.

It was later in the day when Ellen finally admitted I was correct in my assertion that we leave the bird in a shady and comfortable spot so its family could find it and bring him home: After a three-hour ride, we returned home to discover the Frisbee empty.

Ellen was so happy I saw no need to mention the contented look I noticed on the face of our neighbor’s cat …

Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on TV-8 and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at biffbreck@yahoo.com.


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