Those of you who’ve been reading us for the last coupla years will recall the story of “Peg” the one legged chickadee Peggy – aka Fred. Those of you who’ve been asking if she’s still about, will be glad to hear she landed on out hands for a feed of sunflower seeds just three days back. Our little lady is still strong and defiant, despite her disability.
I admire disabled animals as they’re more vulnerable to predators, and it’s not like any of their peers will give them a break. They don’t have universal health care, they don’t have special rights, nor can they band together to demand special privileges. Basically, their society couldn’t care less if they live or die. But live they do, without anyone’s sympathy, without guilt tactics, without self-righteous indignation, without family and friends to fight for them, without compensation, without special societal considerations. They accept their disabilities and step forward to face Life. That’s more courageous than most people I know. Remember I’m talking about a chickadee here.
Now, I’ve seen numerous birds with missing legs. I’ve seen a mourning dove with a tumor half the size of it’s own head. I’ve seen a squirrel with one dead eye, and another with no fur as a cold hard Winter approached.
But I had never seen a Blue Jay without a beak before.
The wife and I were sitting on the back deck as we do every evening until it’s just too cold to do so, when she says, “Heay ! Look at that Blue Jay, the way it stuffed that peanut into it’s crop … it looks like there’s no beak on it”. I glanced up to take a look myself, but it had flown away. It soon returned, and I could clearly see something was definitely wrong with it. I ran inside to grab my camera and much to my shock, the bird actually stayed around long enough to let me snap a few pictures. They’re blurred for the most part so I had to sharpen them with Photoshop, but you can clearly see that it’s missing the entire beak and you can see it’s tongue sticking out in some of the shots. I can’t figure how it could’ve lost it’s entire beak. However, the lack of a beak hasn’t deterred it from carrying on with Life thus far. ***UPDATE Nov 8 2017 – We have since seen a grackle with the top of it’s beak broken and dangling by a thin piece of skin. We floated sunflower seeds in the shallow birdbath so it could scoop them up as it couldn’t pick them up in it’s beak. We only saw these two birds for a few days, then they just failed to show-up one morning. We never saw them again. I have since been told that these kinds of injuries are not uncommon, and are usually fatal … eventually.
In these days of mass organized hero worship, can we not take a moment to recognize, appreciate and respect … silent, unsung bravery ?