Amblin' Alameda: As the crow flies (or doesn't)

Amblin' Alameda: As the crow flies (or doesn't)

Morton Chalfy

The outstanding feature of many adventures is just how unexpected they are. "Expect the unexpected" is an old saying - pithy but useless. One cannot, by definition, expect the unexpected. But stuff happens and serendipity will lead to more adventures than careful planning ever will.

It started as a normal Sunday morning: a stroll along Shore Line, a shower and a short drive for me and my sweetie to meet a good friend for brunch. We had a lot to talk about, and the setting was comfortable and unpressured, with endless refills of our glasses and weeks to catch up on.

After this satisfying visit we had planned to pick up my sweetie's granddaughter.

Now, as we turned into the cul-de-sac where her house is, I had to put on the brakes to avoid hitting a crow in the middle of the road. The bird squawked and faced us with open mouth to feign dangerousness but it clearly could not fly. As it hopped out of the way it trailed its right wing and was obviously struggling.

The family house was just down the block so while we were determining whether granddaughter would be coming or not, I found a suitable container for an injured bird and carried it and a large towel down the street. I looked around for the wounded animal and could see nothing, but as I got closer to one side of the street a crow that could fly did so right in front of my face. It flew up to the peak of the house and called loudly over and over. I don't speak crow but I got the message: "big danger, hide yourself."

Sure of my reading, I looked around the bushes and at last saw the injured bird. I gently picked it up in the towel and placed it in the container and put it in the back of the car. Now what? I know there are wildlife hospitals, but none were listed in the Alameda phone book.

A call to the police station garnered several phone numbers, which we began calling. While sweetie was put on a succession of holds we drove to our veterinarian who "doesn't do birds" but gave me more numbers.

It turns out that only one of the numbers anyone gave me was useful since all the others gave me the same place to go - the only place to go, it turns out. Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek has a wildlife hospital and they take them all, birds and beasts definitely included.

When I called, a live person assured me that they would take the bird in and then gave me excellent directions from Alameda. When we arrived, the clear signage directed us to the hospital entrance where they were caring, thorough and happy that we brought in an injured animal.

In my recent experience the majority of workers in the animal care field are women, and I feel much better about animal care because of it. We received a reward for bringing in the bird, half off family admission to the museum, and a note with the number assigned to the animal so we could check on it in a couple of days.

I am more than glad that such a facility exists, even though it's unique for miles and miles around, and I'm glad that the women working there (some men too, no doubt, but mostly women) are apparently happy to perform this service for our wild brethren.

"My hero," said my sweetie.

I didn't have to think about it to deny the appellation. "I'm no hero," I said, "if anything I'm acting in a cowardly manner. I'm glad to help the bird but I'm gladder that I didn't just leave it out to die since that memory would keep coming back to haunt me. This is an action to avoid bad feelings not one to garner praise."


Submitted by Carol Fairweather (not verified) on Tue, Jun 2, 2015

Good for you two! There are many people who would have done nothing.

Submitted by Mary from VA (not verified) on Wed, Jun 3, 2015

Lovely. Hope you'll update us, too!