Reader’s Tales of Urban Wildlife, Part 2

The sky over Manhattan looked oddly bruised and swollen this morning, a fitting sky for the end of the world.


You do know that the end of the world is happening (again) today, according to the latest in an endless stream of crackpot theories. Today’s prediction is brought to you by the ancient Mayans. Their calendar ends today, and apparently the world can’t go on without its Mayan datebook. At least, this is a rather more democratically wholesale approach to the end of the world than the Christian apocalypse. There’s no Rapture to whisk away believers before the apocalypse, just death and destruction for all.

Oh, wait, will you look at that? Here comes the sun.


Maybe today is just one more of earth’s four and a half billion-and-still-counting first days of winter. Happy winter solstice!

And anyway, end of the world or not, the dog still needs to be walked, and people, animals and the planet itself still need real help.


So in celebration of the on-going work of living together in the world, here is a beautiful story told by a reader who entered our recent Urban Wildlife Contest. (To read other reader entries, visit Readers’ Tales of Urban Wildlife.) Linda Ekstrand of New York City describes seeing a tiny bird stranded on the sidewalk. Unlike many of us in a similar situation, Linda picked up the “beguiling” bird, and carefully carried it across town to the Wild Bird Fund for rehabilitation.

On election day I went to my old neighborhood just twelve blocks away from my present apartment. I stopped in a hardware store on 78th and York and while I searched for a light bulb, I overheard someone say ” there is a cute little bird here.”  I assumed it was a toy, but I heard activity at the door and realized there was a small commotion. Then at the bus stop right outside the store I saw a  tiny little bundle of feathers being photographed by a young girl and her brother using an iPhone. They helped me look for a nest, but obviously that would have been difficult to see if it existed at all. I scooped up the bird and decided to take it to the Wild Bird Fund. Since I was holding it, I did not want to risk getting on a bus and losing it or, worse, being crushed, so I walked through the park with it cupped in my hand.

Golden-crowned kinglet by Dick Daniels

Golden-crowned kinglet by Dick Daniels

It was a delightful walk, but slightly uncomfortable as I was  holding it so carefully. I realized this was an adult bird because it had a long beak. When we arrived at the Wild Bird, they took it in and determined that it was a Kinglet, a migratory bird slightly larger than a hummingbird. The bird was totally unafraid of humans and jumped on me and curtains and anything it could find while we waited for it to be admitted. I was totally charmed by the bird and, truthfully, I wished I could have kept it.

I haven’t heard from the Wild Bird Fund about its fate and while this was not the first bird I ever rescued, it was the most beguiling. Gold and green coloring with an alertness that was remarkable and hopping about with the most winsome expression, he was a real bundle of joy. I hope he had a happy ending, and is winging south as I write this.
Check back soon for the final installment of Readers’ Tales of Urban Wildlife.
Explore posts in the same categories: 2012, Birds, In the City, Wildlife/Natural History

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One Comment on “Reader’s Tales of Urban Wildlife, Part 2”

  1. p hoey Says:

    Delightful entry about the tiny golden crowned kinglet–more!
    And It seems the Mayans regarded history as
    cyclical: the end of a cycle does not signify the end of the world,
    despite ill-wishers wishing.
    Or so the anthropologists say…

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