I went to my brother and sister-in-law’s home for dinner the other night. They live on the 10th floor of a stunning new condominium at the end of the subway line. That evening, I joined the commuter stream moving out of the station and into the glassed-in walkway that leads to the street.
A sudden movement a few feet ahead caught my eye. It was little bird, hopping along the ground, heading toward the station. Poor little thing seemed confused and frightened, but it didn’t look hurt. Slowly, I bent down toward the bird, and sing-songed, “Hello little starling. You’re going the wrong way. Turn around, come on, here, I’ll show you the way.”
Using body language and positioning my tote bag to block off the wrong direction, I gently talked to the little bird, and urged him the other way, down toward the exit.
It was slow going; little the starling clipped along in a slightly zig-zag pattern, and I kept pace slowly behind him. He flew up a bit, once or twice, but must have sensed that he couldn’t fly free. I was tempted to take the bird in hand and try to walk quickly out the exit, but I was afraid he’d peck at my hand or be traumatized and fly back in the wrong direction. So I paced him, murmuring encouraging words in tones normally reserved for babies, kittens and puppies. A few commuters smiled at us as they rushed by; one observed “he’s listening to you!” as she passed.
Finally, we made it to vestibule and exit doors. Starling got distracted chasing after a bug and pecking at some crumbs he discovered, but I patiently manoeuvred him toward the door. Smart little thing quickly figured out how to go under the turnstile and clippety-clipped outside. I followed to make sure he didn’t …
Oh no! He hopped into the road just as a bus was approaching. I went after him and urged him across the road. I thought we were safe – but then he hopped into the adjacent road. I followed, intent on guiding him to safety, grateful to the driver of the car that stopped and waited patiently for us to cross.
Starling quickly hopped over to a grassy patch near the base of the wall supporting the overhead roadway. I thought I could leave him and be on my way – but something stopped me and made me wait.
I watched the little guy forage through the long grasses and weeds, but sure enough, moments later he was clippity-clipping back toward the road! Luckily, there were no vehicles approaching and I was able to I steer him back toward the grassy patch.
I was getting a bit exasperated and impatient and he must have heard it in the tone of my voice when I urged, “Startling, you have to get off the ground! Go on and fly…” because he did just that! My little starling fluttered and flew way up high to the steel beams under-girding the overpass.
“Finally!” I cried relieved to know my little bird was safe and free to fly. I felt great joy and a sense of satisfaction, knowing I had saved the sweet little starling. And had quite the appetite for dinner!