This morning the baby bird flew into the lounge window right by my head, as I was sitting on the couch eating my breakfast and drinking my tea. I heard a huge thump and hopped up to lean out of the window to see what it was. At first I didn’t see anything and I thought that the bird, whichever bird it was, has been stunned but been able to fly off. Then I saw its feet, on the grass directly underneath me. I could see it breathing, very quickly. It stretched out one leg, then the other, and then it died.
I ran outside. Its eyes were closed and it wasn’t breathing, though it was still warm. I recognized it as the baby bird from last week because it still had the little antler feathers on its head; I guess it’d learned to fly, a little, in the intervening days since we tried to save it from the cat. I picked it up in a flannel and gently placed it under another bush—not the one it had been hiding in, but right next to it. I didn’t want its parents to find it, even though I don’t know if birds care if they find dead other birds, or if they recognize death, or even if they had stopped feeding it already and let it go off into the world and were no longer that bothered about it. I don’t know if its parents even remember it anymore.
I think it broke its neck or got the bird equivalent of a concussion. I don’t know if it was in any pain as it died, I don’t know if it even knew what was happening. I don’t know if it would have been comforted to know that I was watching. I don’t know if birds can even feel such a thing, or whether I can give it.
There is still a tiny feather on the lounge window from where it hit its head. I am still a carnivore and a Western human being participating actively in late-stage capitalism and am responsible for death and degradation wherever I go. Maybe the bird would have been caught by another cat or flown into another window or perished in any number of different ways, today or tomorrow: certainly some day. All of us will crash into our own unyielding edifices soon enough, still believing they’re the wide open space of our futures.
I cried anyway and wished I could save every baby bird in the world.