Sunday, August 8, 2010
I Saved A Bird's Life Today
A picture of Vila Nova in the early morning, from my cousin Adelaide's house.
One of the first things I noticed when arriving to Terceira were the birds. The island is full of them! They are constantly singing and chirping from early morning into the night. On any given day, close your eyes and listen to them. You would swear you were in a tropical forest. Just don't do this while walking down a steep hill. (I speak from personal experience.)
The birds are everywhere; in the trees, in the sky, perched on rock walls, telephone and electric poles, at the beach on the sand, in the park...everywhere. We are talking, pigeons, doves, seagulls, swallows, finches. I was surprised to see little birds "andorinhas" flying over in the sand. Surprisingly, I noticed there were more little birds at the beach than seagulls. I don't know if there is an over population of birds,, but we did notice an alarming rate of, "deceased" little birds on the roadways.
One pretty morning, I decided to join my daughter, Lizzy for a nice walk around Vila Nova (my mom's home village where we were staying). We went up the hill to my cousin Adelaide's house, and then past the church, and into the pastures, and then down the hill passing my aunt's house, towards my mom's. We made our trek up to the cousin's house first where we met Adelaide and her daughter, Beatriz who accompanied us on our "power walk", along with their dog, Nemo-a beautiful Dalmatian.
As we made our way around the neighborhood, we were met by various forms of farm life including chickens, goats, pigs, and horses, and of course cows. The island has an extraordinary population of cows, but that is another story that I will touch upon in another entry. They weren't all loose around the street mind you--they were all well kept in the backyards of some of the neighbors, with the larger animals grazing in the open volcanic rocked pastures. We walked past patchworks of green, squared off by decorated by blue and purple hydrenia rock walls up towards the small dairy plant at the top of the hill. During our walk I took in the fresh countryside, and got a whif of the fresh cow manured street. Despite the smell, it was a beautiful morning--one of those mornings when you find yourself wondering why in the world you forgot your camera at home, and regretting the lost opportunity all day long. Although we vowed to take these walks everyday, sadly, I think we only did this walk only a few times more. We had good intentions, but waking up early after staying up until 2 or 3 am, doesn't work very well..
As we made our way up to the dairy, and down the hill towards my aunt's house, I soon learned to walk on the left side of the road, rather than the right side. It is best to face oncoming traffic, than vice versa. Thankfully Adelaide alerted me to this early on. Motorists drive rather fast on these narrow country roads. Once we got to my aunt's house, sure enough there was my Tia Aidinha in the front yard with Uncle Manny, along with a little chirping bird standing near the side of street. It was chirping loudly and it seemed to be in distress! I have no idea how it got there because there weren't any trees around, but I knew it had to be moved from where it was standing or it would surely be ran over eventually. I couldn't just walk away and ignore it's little chirps! It may have been calling for it's mother, but it was alone, so I had to do something.
I took my dear Tia Aidinha's advice and scooped the little creature in the palms of my hands and carefully carried it into the garden of my Tia's front yard. There were flowers there, but nothing else, but there was a little ledge that I thought it might fall from, so I decided against leaving it there, so I scooped it up again and sat the little bird in the pasture next to my Tia's house, near the grape vines, and corn. It slowly made it's way downward into the pasture, and I was happy to see it's little wings fly down to where the grapes were. I don't know how safe and happy it would be down there, but at least he was away from the road, and near food. I hope it's still there, happily chirping away near the corn. I can only hope.
So I'm making note: I've added this event to my list of "Animals Saved". This little andorinha is right there under the gold fish I brought to life. Did I ever write about that? I stroked his little fin, until I saw it open it's little mouth, and put him in his clean fish bowl. Sure I forgot he was in the bath tub with no water when I was cleaning his bowl in the first place, but I did save it eventually.. Hopefully this will make up for all the baby chicks I squeezed to death as a child. (That is another story I'll write about later.)
Next time, I'll write about the chickens and the migrating birds that come here from America--who sound "like aliens".
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