Create, Pitch, Sell

An Amazing Thing Happened Today

I was able to rescue a large bird with a three-pronged fishing lure stuck in its neck.

I'm not telling you this story to brag. I'm simply sharing a side of me I never knew existed.

While bike riding this morning, I passed by a bird standing still in the parking lot of a convenience store across from the beach. It was the size of a seagull. Brown, not white and black. I noticed it didn't fly off even when I was less than four feet away. Near its beak something bright yellow glinted in the sunlight. I thought the bird was eating an odd type of fish. The bird squatted so low to the ground I couldn't see the yellow thing anymore. It hit me that the bird was in trouble. I parked the bike. Dashed into the store, and told the first person I saw. The man stopped what he was doing and followed me outside. There was a short section of fishing line attached to a lure and one of the hooks was attached to the bird. The man surmised someone caught the bird while casting out, merely cut the line and left it to fend for itself.

The bird inched its way toward the highway. The man stepped on the line to keep it from darting out into the traffic or from trying to fly off. He told me to cover its eyes with my hand. I did. He examined the hook. Said he couldn't find a way to remove it without further injuring the bird. He hurried inside to ask someone else to help me, then got in his car and sped away, leaving me kneeling on the ground holding the bird with both hands. Other people came and went. They couldn't miss seeing me. Some turned away. Others flashed a sympathetic smile. "I need help, dammit!" I shouted, angrily. An employee came out and told me The Parks and Wildlife Service had been called.

Minutes later, a woman and a man pulled up in a van. She said she's a bird rescuer. They examined the bird while I continued holding onto it. The man tried to cut the barbed tip off the hook. Broke the handle of the tinsnips instead. The woman said it would be easier if they took the bird home with them. I didn't trust her. I had a sudden flashback to the time when I was forced to take my dog to a shelter because we were moving to an apartment complex that didn't allow pets. Heartbroken, I tried to come up with a plan to smuggle my dog into the apartment. I returned to the shelter a couple of hours later to find they had euthanized him not long after I'd taken him there. I couldn't help but think the same fate awaited the defenseless bird. She said they would remove the hook and return the bird to the wild. Reluctantly, I placed it in her care.

Two things amazed me. One: The bird stopped trying to get away from me, as if it finally understood I wasn't there to harm it. Two: My role in all of this. I love birds and animals. So I wasn't surprised that I didn't look the other way or find a way to quickly put the creature out of its misery. I was surprised, however, that I wrapped my bare hands around it without being scared or squeamish, even after it bit my hand hard enough to make a bruise. It's true when they say you'll never know how you'll act in a situation until you're confronted with it. I've always been a champion of the underdog, which made it easy for me to fight for the life of the bird like I did. It's also why it's easy for me to curse the person for hurting the bird in the first place, and for not taking responsibility for their actions. Cutting the line and leaving the bird to die shows a blatant disregard for life.

I didn't think to ask the woman what kind of bird it is. The photo is a close likeness. I also didn't ask her when and where she would return it to the wild. Hard as it is, I need to have a little faith.