This afternoon, I went outside to finally plant some petunias in my concrete planters out in the front of my house. Yes, I’m late this year. When I approached the planter close to my driveway, I spotted something brown lying on the ground. It was a beautiful Brown Thrasher and he wasn’t moving. He looked just like the bird in this picture.
He was a beautiful bird, with brownish red feathers, a long tail that sort of stood up like a wren’s tail, and a white breast with black steaks. He had big yellow eyes and appeared to be fully grown. On closer inspection, I noticed green bottle flies on him (never a good sign). I thought he was dead at first but then noticed he was breathing.
I went to the garage for some rags and a small box. Memories resurfaced from my childhood when I would find an injured or baby bird. I felt that ole familiar strong urge and desire rise up inside of me to help this bird. I shooed the flies from him and picked him up. He did have some life in him and he thrashed and tried to get away. After examining him, things did not look good for this birdie. He appeared to have a right-wing injury and was missing a rather large patch of feathers on the side of his breast up under his wing. These feathers were hanging loose by a thread so I cut them off. He was badly bruised on his upper wing muscles and the bone appeared swollen and the flies had already laid a thick patch of their sticky eggs on him (which would soon hatch into maggots). I tried cleaning the eggs off but I found this was stressing him more than I wanted. I did the best I could, and offered him some berries and water but he was too weak and showed no interest in either. Periodically, he showed some neurological deficits where his head seemed to move in circles and he had some nystagmus (fast uncontrollable movements of the eyes). I figured the poor thing maybe crashed into a window.
I decided all I could do was say a prayer over this bird and let God’s will be done. So that’s just what I did. He died just an hour or so later at sundown. Poor birdie. He was sure pretty. Sometimes it sucks being a veterinarian. You want to be able to save every wounded living creature you come across, realizing at the same time, that it’s just not possible.