Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's a Zoo Around Here #1

I titled this post "It's a Zoo Around Here (Number 1) because we have a lot of animals and there is bound to be more to post as times goes by. After all, there has been much in the past that has been memorable or interesting, but it just never made written history. Things like the time Geo was carrying a squawking potbellied pig and his pants fell down, or the time Buddy went blind, or the time I became a cat mom again... or when some guys drove off with three sheep in the back of their tiny hatchback. Life with animals is interesting and certainly there is much I could write about.

This first story on this blog is a Finch Story. I have several finch stories, like the one about baby Huey. (Maybe I will tell you that one sometime.) This one is about baby Huey's mom and it's a sad sort of story... but keep reading... there is a, well ... sort of a... "happy ending" to it all.

Finch Rescue
Alerted to the ruffling of feathers, I looked over at the birds and lo and behold there was something going on. Our cat was peering in through the screened window and causing the finches to flutter. "No problem," or so I thought, "The cats are just spooking the finches." (Something they do because the cage is right by the window and they can see the finches from outside.)

When the fluttering continued, I looked over more closely and saw the finch flailing back and forth, then getting closer, I noticed it's foot was caught between two sections of the cage.
"Crazy!" I thought. "How in the world did this happen?"

I had no idea how it happened, but the poor little birds foot was caught. It was broken and stuck and preventing the bird from flying away as it was frightened by the ferocious beast that wanted to eat it! Needless to say the panicked bird was out of control. Not only that, the leg was bleeding.

I caught the flailing creature and held it so that it could not flap around with my left hand and with the right I tried to separate the parts of the cage, but it was no use. I had to call my son to help.

He arrived with a tool to wedge between the metal bars and twist them apart to free the leg, which he promptly did. The leg was in bad shape, but I did not know how to hold the bird and fix the leg at the same time. I put antiseptic on the injury and put the bird back in the cage. Meanwhile bird number two escaped. I spent a long time trying to catch the escapee and finally did, only to realize that I should quarantine the injured bird to keep it from trying to land on perches with an injured(and bleeding) leg.

After traumatizing an already traumatized finch by trying to catch it, I finally caught it and put it into a screened-in box at the bottom of the big cage. I hoped that making the bird sit in isolation would help control the bleeding and it did.

At one point I attempted to open the box to give the bird some water and it escaped into the big cage and I had to capture it again. I did get to inspect the bird up close again and see that the bleeding had subsided. Unfortunately I also saw that the leg, which was barely hanging on, would have to be amputated. I put the bird back into isolation and waited for Dr. G to arrive home from a hard day at the office.

Geo came home and gave a second opinion on the leg. It would have to go, and go it did. With a swipe of the scissors it was gone. Surprisingly, there was no blood and the finch didn't even flinch.

The one-footed finch was freed back into the large cage and greeted happily by her mate. It's obvious that she will have some adjustments to make, but I read in my finch book that finches with broken legs or amputated legs can do quite well in the wild. It is a sad prospect if you ask me, but I suspect that since she will have food and water and a finch friend too, she will do well, but then hopefully she will not get her other foot stuck!

Geo and I did watch her repeatedly visit the spot where she had caught her foot in the cage. Presumably she was looking to see if it was there ... or maybe she was just trying to figure out what on earth happened to her over the last few hours. She seems to be fine, eating and drinking, getting around as best a one footed little birdy might. I guess time will tell.

As for the happy ending.... As happy as I was that the bird did not die, that was not the happy ending... ( I happen to think the finch story is quite sad and disheartening at best. I find it quite disheartening that a seemingly healthy little bird is suddenly struck by injury and will never be the same for the rest of her life. ) that was just the not-so-bad ending. I suspect it could have been worse. The happy ending is ...

Hmmm, wait a minute..... Now as I am thinking about it , the happy ending I was thinking about at the beginning of this story is probably not a particularly happy ending in light of this being a FINCH STORY, but it was a happy ending to me.... something that lightened my spirit a little as it made me think of new life. You see, the happy ending to all of this is.... that when all this finch drama was over, I then discovered that our cat had three little kittens! (From the perspective of a finch, three more cats around might not be so great, if you know what I mean!)

I am thinking too that this could be the beginings of a whole new "Zoo Around Here" adventure. They were, after all, born on the porch in the dog bed.

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