Her Name Was Bea.
That was short for Beautiful. She was Beautiful to see and Beautiful of strength and spirit. Her life on Earth was short as well but she accomplished so much.
Mike doesn't normally pick up riders when he is on his motorcycle but there she was standing on the side of the road. He pulled over and asked Bea what she was doing alone on a country road. She didn't answer. This sweet young chick was waiting by the roadside for Pretty Boy to give her a ride and there he was .....He picked up the little hitchhiker and unbuttoned his shirt a little so he could tuck her inside for the ride home to Camp Nappy.
OMG! Mike came home with this little bird with horribly swollen eyelids and swollen skin around her mouth! The skin was soooo red and inflamed she looked almost like a mini Turkey Vulture!
What had happened to her? Did she have a disease? Was she sunburned? Did the dust and crud from the road damage her skin? Did she have chemicals sprayed on her and her tender skin was reacting? Why was she sooooo swollen?
We gave her antibiotics, something for pain, antibiotic ointment on her eyelids as well as some IV fluids and treatment for shock. She got some warm birdy cereal too. And we waited. She was very still but seemed more comfortable as we filled her crop with warm food throughout the night.
By morning she had improved enough that her eyes opened and my heart sank! Her eyes were not normal. Bea was blind! She had what appeared to be congenital cataracts. She was essentially born blind, or nearly so. How could a bird survive without sight? She could never fly safely! She would be doomed to a life of prison through no fault of her own. We have *never* encountered such a guest and the huge moral dilemma her condition posed!
We sent out a call to those closest to Camp Nappy for their most respected advice for Bea and our friends came through with their best thoughts. As she had congenital cataracts it was believed she may have other abnormalities and her time on Earth would be limited. She would have an eye exam by the ophthalmologist in a week. Until then, this little soul knows nothing other than darkness. Let us find out what Bea can do in spite her darkness.
She *LOVED* Led Zeppelin! Every time she hears one of their songs she starts to sway slowly side to side and her head rolls gently with the rhythm ... jamming with the band and singing ... kinda reminiscent of a Stevie Wonder concert! That certainly counts for something! Bea did not react like that to any other artist.
We kept checking if she gives any hint of sight and initially she perceived light and ~perhaps~ the slightest of movement but that is only on the left side on her first full day here. Little Bea was out the following morning before her breakfast and she was using her beak like a walking stick by tapping in front and to the sides as she took a tentative stroll on the towel. We then thought she might be far sighted on the right? Waaaaay up close she doesn't respond but farther away she seemed to be able to track motion on both sides.
We didn't want to rush anything but knew the longer we cared for her the more difficult it will be to decide to decide. Mike thought she'd be OK and adjust to her form of normality and when God wanted her she would leave.
Ah well. This may be The Year of The Eye Problems or the impossible to rescue! I'd rather have Swifts!
Initially we thought Bea was a young Common Grackle but we soon found out there was nothing "common" about her. She was so delicate yet showed amazing strength and courage as she tried to overcome her vision loss. Bea had made amazing strides, literally, on day three here. We believed her eyesight was improving.
She no longer tapped her way around but took steady and purposeful steps. She walked to the edge of the counter and I quickly put my hand out in front of her to stop her from falling and she backed off! She then turned around ... took two steps and hopped on my hand!!!!! :-) She definitely seeks the light and had been very mobile Monday. Bea has been very busy doing her wing stretches and flapping. The skin on her face was healing and had some scabs on it. What had caused her injuries?
Of course she was also preening her feathers too. A girl needs to look her best at all times, dontchaknow? Her beak was slender and more delicate than that of a Grackle. She had started to show signs of patches on her wings. The skin of her feet was sooooo soft! Her voice was not entirely Grackle-ish. Bea now had more tail feathers growing and this confirmed that she was a young Red-winged Blackbird.
She was not getting that she needs to start to eat on her own or drink water either. If we placed a hunk of blueberry, grape or cherry in her mouth she would swallow it but she was not even trying in the least to pick anything up on her own. Cherries and grapes were her favourites! :-) Bea was tapping at the towel and pulling on it so there's at least there was a start.
Little Bea was giving us mixed signals on Monday. She was definitely getting around with more confidence but she didn't sing when ~her band~ was on the radio. Mike said he noticed she stumbled a few times in the late afternoon and she took up an odd posture of holding her wings out and resting like that. ??? Strange! She was more difficult to feed and she resisted having the tube stuck into her crop.
Maybe she knew she needed to leave and didn't want us to delay her departure? Mike thinks maybe she had some brain damage from heat stroke. It was very hot when he found her and even hotter for her resting on the pavement. :*( In the wee hours of Tuesday morning I heard her fluttering.
Bea had a seizure and was laying on her side. She struggled for breath for less than a minute and I held her, gave her a kiss on top of her head and told her it was OK to leave her darkness. Don't be afraid little one. Go toward the Light and see God. Her mission here on Earth was done and she was gone.
Take what ever adversities are given to you and show the world you can overcome them. If you cannot over come the adversities then you try the very best you can to do well. Always know there may be someone who is watching out for your safety and someone who loves you in spite of it all and will help you through it all.
A life lesson for all species from someone small and young. The teacher? A tiny bird named Bea.