Friday, October 26, 2012

Be Prepared!

Good health is something most of us take for granted.  The ability to walk, to sit, to bend to lift seem like givens as we concentrate on day to day concerns.  But when these basic abilities are gone, believe me, everyday problems are put in perspective.

Last week’s lifting-related injury left me flat on my back and in a real bind.  I wasn’t able to focus on rest and getting better but rather was worried sick about my animals.  With JB out of town I was alone and unable to get outside to care for the wildlife.  Sunday night I’d left the feeders out and on Monday morning could see the deer had emptied all within their reach.  Additionally, the bird baths were only half full. 

I tried to tell myself that my absence for a few days wouldn’t make a difference but instinctively knew better.  Sure enough, by mid-afternoon I was jolted from a pain-induced haze by the appearance of a Pileated Woodpecker outside my bedroom window.  For an instant our eyes locked and I read my feathered friend’s thoughts:  Where are you?  We are hungry.

A glance outside confirmed my fears:  the suet plug feeder, the Pileateds’ personal favorite, was empty. With tears in my eyes I turned away from the window.  I knew I couldn’t make it outside nor lift feeders. 

Thankfully, by late Monday evening, prescription pills were taking hold and I could at least manage the pain and move from room to room. 

After a night of semi-comatose sleep I made the decision to head outside and was greeted with a flutter of wings and aggravated avian chatter.  As several swooped close I sensed confusion among my winged wildlife.  Moving slowly, but with much overhead encouragement,  it took me all morning to get most of the feeders refilled.  Only the ones requiring a ladder to reach were left untouched.  Bathed in sweat, I shakily retreated to the house and collapsed into my bed.  Mission accomplished.

Each day since has been a bit better but the experience has made me realize the importance of a contingency plan.  I take my responsibility to the area wildlife seriously.  Like backyard birders all over the world, I have seen my efforts over the past four years make a huge difference. Migration patterns have changed and species have flourished.  Simply put:  around Bon Bon Pond there are now more birds, more of the time.

To all my kind-hearted kindred--particularly those in cold weather climes--I urge you to profit from my failure and be prepared.  In case of accident or injury, every backyard birder needs a backup plan in place to ensure our beloved wildlife continue to receive the care they’ve come to expect.

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