M. SCOTT MORRIS: Wayward bird has a tough day



As soon as I sat down, something slammed into our storm door.

I thought a neighbor kid wanted to play with my kids, which meant the neighbor kid banged far harder than necessary.

Fear my wrath, neighbor kid.

Except the culprit was a bird.

Maybe it’d been distracted by its reflection, or it could’ve seen an attractive nuisance inside the Morris Manse.

Whatever the motivation, it was bad news for the bird, which lay on its back on our concrete porch.

Its beak never closed, going from open to slightly less open, as though fighting for air.

Our orange cat, William, was a mighty hunter of birds before he disappeared – perhaps, himself, the victim of an even mightier hunter.

And I killed a few birds in my younger days. I’d like to brag about the quail I bagged with Uncle Jim and his dogs, but that’d be a lie. Birds had ample reason to fear my BB gun, but were free to mock my shotgun at their leisure.

Anyway, it never bothered me to see dead birds.

But this was a dying bird.

I called my wife to witness the pathetic sight playing out in front of me. She made suitably empathetic sounds that didn’t do the bird any good.

“Should I kill it?” I said.

She didn’t answer.

As I went after a pair of work gloves, I wondered if I could do the deed. I imagined grabbing the head and twisting, thus ending the bird’s suffering. Simple.

Instead, I rolled it over, and the bird stood on its feet, while continuing its heavy breathing and making no effort to leave.

Of course, William’s gone, and I doubt our current cat, McDuff, has the intestinal fortitude to take on a bird that’s still alive.

But other threats abound in the suburban jungle, so I picked it up and moved it to the top of our garbage can.

Here’s a point in the bird’s favor: It waited until reaching the trash can before doing its messy business. I appreciated the restraint, and was even less inclined to ring its neck.

We waited and watched. I hoped it was in shock, but my wife thought a wing was broken, and the weird breathing continued.

We decided to give it some alone time and went inside, then I saw through the window as it started jerkily moving its head from side to side, the way birds do.

I opened the door, and wonder of wonders, it took off and flew, the wing not so damaged as we’d feared. I felt somewhat airborne, you know, on the inside.

People say the media never report good news, so make note that this life-affirming moment was brought to you by the Mighty Daily Journal.

Unless you think birds are the rats of the sky, in which case, I hope my feathered friend targets your freshly washed car someday.

M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

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