All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Hook Bird Story

Like most boys growing up in the '60s and '70s, I got a BB gun for Christmas when I was 10 years old. It was great sport for the kids in our neighborhood to go to the local cemetery and shoot sparrows. One day the next summer I was in my backyard and a bird we called a "yellow breasted robin" made the mistake of landing on the power lines in our yard. I raised my BB gun and shot, it fell to the ground and I ran to pick it up. It was not dead and as I held it in my hands I began to feel the same dread that little Opie Taylor felt in the "Andy Griffith" episode when Opie shot a sparrow with a slingshot. As I looked into the face of this poor bird that seemed to be saying with his eyes, "Why did you do this?" I agonized for what I had done and suddenly felt responsible and obligated to helping this poor creature survive if it were still possible. I nursed it for several days, feeding it grasshoppers, hoping it would recover. Fortunately the BB did not penetrate the thick breast of the bird and he recovered quickly. Within a few days I took him outside and turned him loose. He hung around our yard the rest of the summer; he didn't seem to have any fear of me even though I had shot him. He seemed to have forgiven me for what I did and I learned to love and appreciate this little bird, which led to my obsession with birds today. Many years later I learned that my yellow-breasted robin was actually a Western kingbird, a species of flycatcher that is common to our area in the summer.

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