This didn't all happen this morning, but for the last two months or so I've been at work almost every day. Time turns into soup, so I can't say if I took a Saturday off or a Sunday, but I've had two days off in total.
Regardless, I've been going to gym in the mornings before work, to ensure that I get going early and also, if I'm not taking any days off, giving myself a day off gym has the placebo effect of having given myself a break: in this case, a morning off gym as opposed to a weekend off work.
Opposite the church and before the scaffolding, but not yet past the parking garage, I found a big dead pigeon in an open pizza box. Its wings were spread, which felt different. Combing the topsoil of my mind, that's the best word I can use. Different.
As soon as I saw the bird "right there, next to my foot, all of a sudden right there! I looked away - as you do (or maybe don't. I don't know. Do you?) It's a stupid thing to do anyway because I record the wrong information and my partial facts only serve to worry me and present themselves as most likely incorrect "clues" to "what happened".
From my flinching glance everything appeared in tact. There was red, but not a lot and I can't remember where. Whatever I tried not to see made me think that the thing had died from sudden force. It wasn't squashed or torn or punctured or anything. It was just slightly deflated, with the remnants (precisely one small rejected bite) of pizza at the 2 o' clock position of the box.
I immediately felt sickened because it was a Sunday and that pizza OBVIOUSLY belonged to a drunk person who might have only just split a mere 2 hours before I turned up. Also, a person eating a pizza where this box lay could only have had a bad night, because you OBVIOUSLY wouldn't be there for anything but sulking. OBVIOUSLY. And a bad night and alcohol (which this person had OBVIOUSLY been drinking because drunk people buy pizzas) might lead to violence and maybe this dumb bird bore the brunt of a he-said-she-said spat. Maybe OBVIOUSLY. Maybe it was kicked.
So there. I walked past a dead bird in an open pizza box on Sunday morning and again on Monday morning. On Tuesday morning it was gone, but today, as I neared the spot (opposite the church and before the scaffolding, but not yet past the parking garage) I heard the furious peeping of baby birds.
Sick, I started to wonder if those miracles of nature ever occurred in the realm of urban fowl in the case of motherless, exposed young. Would another bird start feeding them?
I tweeted (as I do) and received 3 messages, all from my mother, to say that I should notify someone. My mom is annoying as fuck when she gets her teeth into something and won't let go- but the idea of anything just waiting to expire (whilst SCREAMING TO THE WORLD as best it can) is enough to irk me to the extent that I'll awake at 3am and wonder how much they're suffering.
If you're scoffing over birds starving to death, I get it. Some of you are just tough and have that "way of the world" wisdom. Baby birds, mice, rabbits, kittens, puppies. Whatever. Things die of hunger. It's just that I can't help picturing it. I know some people who shrug at photos of starving babies without feeling anything as they go about their Christmas shopping, so, so what? An AIDS baby is as diseased as a pigeon baby and people try to save them all the time.
I phoned the RSPCA.
I pressed 2 "for calls relating to wildlife"...I won't lie. I hesitated. Wildlife? Or pests? No pest option.
The next five choices pertained to animals that are sick/stuck/suffering cruelty/alive but stuck in the road/young.
I pressed 5 for "young".
Then I pressed 3 for "bird" and all the while I was getting nervously embarrassed for when the phone might be picked up by a human who would laugh McVities crumbs at my report that "there are some baby birds that may or may not have a mother".
Then I pressed "2 for pigeons" and felt reassured, because for pigeons to come in second - well, it means the volume of calls about pigeons ratifies an entire category!
Alas. What I learned was that a lot of racing pigeons will stop and rest for days at a time. Most will sport a ring on their neck or leg, under or around which you can find a number, which will indentify the bird or its owner. Do not report the bird unless it is obviously injured. No word on the regular gutter variety. End of recording.
So basically, with limited time and resources, the RSPCA can't afford to address calls about pigeons. Even if they are young and motherless and peeping. I understand that. It even makes me feel better to know that I tried and that the birds aren't being left to whatever hell awaits because nobody cared. It's because of other, more pressing reasons that probably include "suffering pigeons aren't as rare or upsetting to people in general than say, anything prettier or less prevalent, like a fox, squirrel or "nice" birds that won't readily pick through warm vomit"
Whatever. They probably weren't pigeons, or if they are, they may only have been making a noise because their mom was feeding them.
Dying babies are always upsetting; irrespective of how feathered/horned/slimy/tailed/winged/scaled/bald they are.
If I hear them tomorrow I'll assume that they're still hungry and neglected. And if I don't, I'll conclude that they're dead. Lose lose.