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Nurturing Rocky...and Me

Since LoraKim is in Paraguay and has very limited access to the internet, this is my first-ever blog for One Earth Conservation.

It was a beautiful morning for my almost-daily walk along a lovely local greenway in Queens, NY. As a jogger dashed by me in a small tunnel along the way, I heard a frantic rush of wings and saw a feathery body crash into a wall and thud to the ground. Involuntarily gasping, I ran over to find a very disoriented pigeon stumbling on the ground, trying to find his footing. Not certain what to do, and agonizing over my busy day ahead, I nevertheless whipped out my cell phone and called the Wild Bird Fund in Manhattan for advice.

We determined that this bird needed help, so, as an experienced caregiver for a pet cockatiel and after much coaxing and some gentle chasing, I scooped up the pigeon and headed for my 15-minute walk home. Talking to the bird non-stop to soothe him, I arrived at home, placed him gingerly into a pillowcase to keep him calm, found an old birdcage in our garage and gently placed him in there with food and water. I named him “Rocky” and then drove him to Volunteers for Wildlife on Long Island for medical care. As far as I know, he’s still there being watched and monitored for head trauma and/or a neurological disorder.

What drove me to stop and take the time to do all this? Well, in part, it was guilt. Many years ago, I was walking along with my then very young daughter when we found a tiny, naked nestling on the ground under a tree. Even then I had a lot of experience with birds and knew that such a young, helpless being was not likely to survive away from its parents unless a person was willing to give it round-the-clock care. As a working mom, I had my small child and my work to think about. My daughter begged me to help the nestling, but I told her it would be best to leave the nestling where she was and hopefully her parents would save her. Unfortunately, when we passed the same spot hours later, the little baby bird was dead and my daughter was very upset with me.

But, it was not only guilt that motivated me to take action last week. It was also the lessons I had been learning from LoraKim about how nurturing nature is a way to nurture myself. Instead of walking off and wondering how the bird would survive, I took action and knew I did all I could to help another being who was helpless and in distress. This gave me peace of mind that I otherwise would not have had. Who knew that a walk in the park in Queens would provide me with such an unexpected life lesson!

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