Snowbank Rescue

by Connie Brubacher | Nov 1, 2023 | 0 comments

“What are you looking at, Father?” Joanna asked. She had just returned from the sink where she had swallowed a dose of cough syrup. Staying home from school was boring, and Father’s figure, leaning at the window, caught her eye.

“There’s a little bird in the snowdrift. It flew against the window. Its heart is still beating. I think it will get over it,” said Father as he returned to his chair with the morning paper.

Joanna peered out the window. “What kind of bird is it? Is it a chickadee or a junco?”

“I think it is some kind of sparrow,” Father answered.

Joanna scrutinized the bird. Its head was hidden in snow as it lay belly-up. The rapid beating of its heart showed life. Many birds had flown against their kitchen windows. After a moment or two of stunned inaction, they would usually flutter up and fly away. Why was this one not moving if its heartbeat was so strong?

If I pick it out of the snow, I can see its head. Then I can see what kind it is, Joanna thought. It has buff color on its sides like a chickadee. Joanna slipped out the door and reached for the feathery, belly-up bundle. As her fingers closed around the bird’s body, a flutter of feathers tickled her fingers. Joanna giggled, then gasped. Now she understood why the little bird had not flown away.

“Father! The bird’s head was stuck under the icy crust on the snow. I’m glad I checked it. It could not have flown away on its own,” Joanna called in the kitchen door. As she opened her fingers, the bird fluttered up.

Now it will fly away, she thought.

Surprise! The bird did not fly away. It fluttered up and clung to the front of her dress.

“Father! Look!” Joanna called.

Father turned from his paper, and a wide smile spread over his face.

“It’s a Tree Sparrow,” Joanna said. “’It has gray eyebrows, a dot on its chest, and the two-colored bill. We always see Tree Sparrows on our farm in winter.”

“Come, little bird. You are made to be out in the cold air,” said Joanna as she gently set the bird on the edge of the little wagon on the porch.

Joanna stepped inside and closed the door. Mother walked through the kitchen with a basket of laundry.

“Mother! Come and see the bird,” Joanna begged.

“Where is it?” Mother set down her basket and stepped to the door.

“It flew against the window and was stuck in the snowdrift. The crust on the snow trapped its head. I pulled it out! It could not have gotten out on its own. It was belly-up,” Joanna explained gravely.

“Can it still fly?” Mother asked.

“Yes! Come and see.” Joanna slipped out the door and picked up the sparrow from the porch floor. She opened her hand, and the bird clung gently to her finger, blinking.

“It must still be stunned, if it is so tame,” Mother said quietly.

“It flew from my hand and clung to the front of my dress when I first picked it up,” Joanna bubbled.

“Well then, it will fly away, too, when it is ready,” said Mother. “Be gentle with it, and set it on the porch when you are done holding it.”

Joanna set the bird down. It blinked and blinked as if to say, “Thank you, Sweet Friend!” Up it fluttered, and off it flitted, over the meadow to home.

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