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Daring Do

Tell us about the time you rescued someone else (person or animal) from a dangerous situation. What happened? How did you prevail?:

There are two moments that immediately spring to mind.
1. I was living up in the mountains of Vadito, New Mexico (approx. 9000′ above sea level). Just driving into Taos for groceries and to visit friends, I’ve just hit the last section of road now entering Talpa. when I notice a vehicle swerve to my left, hit and run over a large bird. I didn’t see the bird until that moment, perhaps the driver didn’t as well? Regardless, they didn’t stop and now, as I drove by slowly, this beautiful Peregrine falcon is laying in the middle of the highway, one wing sticking up in the air looking utterly destroyed.
Ok. Admittedly my thoughts went to FEATHERS – a friend of mine did restoration work for museums, Sotheby’s of Plains Indian artifacts. So, I pulled over, ran across the highway and gently picked up bird. Such a beauty. Eye of Horus, the falcon’s eyes were closed and its wing was broken. There’s a lot of road kill in New Mexico which always made me so angry and upset. People just don’t care, simply don’t give a damn. I’d witnessed people purposely swerving to hit animals walking along the side of the road, and always wanted to create a bit of performance/installation art- concept: early morning leave fifty or more naked baby dolls covered in fake blood, scattered along the highway. I never did it…

 Once an endangered species in the United States, North American peregrine falcon populations have made a great comeback due to bans on usage of DDT and similar pesticides. Photograph by Michael Melford

Once an endangered species in the United States, North American peregrine falcon populations have made a great comeback due to bans on usage of DDT and similar pesticides.
Photograph by Michael Melford

Meanwhile, I gently wrapped the bird in a blanket I had in my car and lay its body (head poking out, kind of looking like an Ushabti) on the passengers seat. At the time I drove a huge purple impala! So, it was really one long couch of a seat. Aaaanyways, I’m driving along and suddenly birdy wakes up ?!?! And holy crap alarms, high pitched screeching and flapping and I’m trying to steer straight while not getting killed by talons and beak and freaking out bird trying to fly around in my car!! I yell back at the bird, ‘I just saved you from getting even more run over and I’m sorry but I thought you were dead!!’ Silence. Falcon is looking at me, its wing clearly messed up. Falcon sits still as I calmly explain my plain to drive to my house and see what we can do to help the broken wing situation.
Back at my house, yeah this is crazy sounding, I carry Falcon into my bedroom and place him/her (hadn’t established that yet) gently on my bed. Falcon pops up and is seemingly cool about the situation, looking at me making some interesting trilling-like sounds, I gently pet Falcons chest, and back. This amazing bird is absolutely fine with me petting them like a cat!

I filled a bowl of water (??) and set it on the bed, and proceeded to phone wild life rescue services in NM. I wasn’t sure what else to do. One wing was damaged, and I wasn’t sure if I could catch live mice and/or how to feed Falcon, this seemed like the safest bet. Mind you, this was pre-Internet so, there was no Google or Wikipedia for me to check.
The wild life rescue sent someone up however, it would take several hours to reach me, as they were far away. So, Falcon and I hung out. Whenever I would go to leave the room Falcon would let out these incredibly high pitched shrieks and stop when I would renter the room, walking over to me on the bed and wanting to be pet. My boyfriend (at the time) showed up, Falcon did not approve AT ALL. Shrieking and puffing chest, would place himself in front of me, as if protecting me from this human intruder. 🙂 for less stress I asked boyfriend to come back later.
This was around 2pm, wild life rescue finally arrived at 11pm and I instantly felt like I’d made the worst mistake ever – I let the man into my house and he was quite clearly freaked out that the Falcon was just kicking it on my bed, allowing me to pet him, hug, carry.
“The bird is in shock!” The man’s voice wavered a bit. I calmly explained the whole situation, and how we’d been hanging out ALL day, no issues, no problem. I didn’t believe the bird was in shock at this point, just maybe, trusted me…?? And now I would blow that out the window with this arse. Ok I understand ‘wild animal‘ and all that. Be careful, can rip you to shreds, etc., etc. though Falcon seemed to understand I was not a threat, was not about to inflict harm upon him in any way. I walked back into the bedroom, and as I petted Falcon (while apologizing for what was about to take place) the WLRescue man slowly enters the room, massive gloves on, holding a long stick with a lasso. I suggested that wasn’t necessary, I could carry Falcon to the carrier. “NO!” The man was sincerely freaked out. Falcon senses this human is off and like with my boyfriend stands between me and the WLrescue guy and proceeds to call out, open its wings fully, puff chest out like, “Dude, step away from my lady friend!” The bird is fierce and this guy cannot comprehend how or why we’ve seemingly bonded in this way. All he can think is the bird is in shock and this can be the only reason why I’m able to hold and pet a Peregrine falcon without gloves, or lasso.
Well, it was seriously awful how the Falcon was handled. Lassoed and put into a crate then, this crate was strapped down in the bed of this guys truck. I remember crying and calling the guy a jerk, stating this was why animals didn’t trust humans. How could he drive all the way back to the wild life hospital with the bird bouncing around… 😦 it was terrible. I didn’t believe the bird would survive these people.

2. October, 2013: I’m busily reading the 5th book in the Game of Thrones series when I hear someone outside crying. Granted, I currently live in a crappy, ghetto neighborhood off a main street. Derelicts, prostitutes, crack dealers abound. So, I kind of ignored this crying though, it seemed loud. I go back to Tyrion getting captured and notice the crying grows worse and now this person saying, “…but what if it dies, what if…” What?! I put the book down, get up and try to locate my house keys. Now I’m thinking maybe this person hit my neighbor’s cat. I don’t know why I’m thinking cat but, I am. As I head towards the front door I can see someone standing in the alley way between my house, he’s looking at someone further in the alley and exclaims, “shut the fuck up!!” And I see this woman standing there, crying… As soon as I unlock the front door they take off. Wtf?!
Next morning I’m making coffee and looking out the back window hoping to see the neighbor’s cat (Keetah) hoping the woman wasn’t crying because she’d run her over or something, and finally (exhale) there’s Keetah on the fence. Phew. Relief. But as I continue my coffee making efforts I see that Keetah is super focused on something in my yard. Following her line of sight I see this little face, this adorable little kitten face peeking out of our Viburnum bush. ‘Who are you?!’ I inquire out my window, as if.
Long story short. I rescue kitten. Make an appointment with my vet (Attila-no shit) because I just can’t make myself take kitty to Toronto Animal Services. Kitten was not chipped, no one in the neighborhood claimed kitten as theirs, I check Craig’s list, and other ‘lost & found’ pages. Plus, Oryx and Crake (our two other cats) fell in love with kitten too. Kitten now has many names, amongst the list are: Minx, Magoo, Peanut, Bug and Bean. She was just two months old when I found her. :/ I believe the crying woman left this little kitten in my yard… That’s the only explanation I can come up with. I mean, who would let a little baby kitten out like this?!
Anyways, Minx is so happy, and so entirely loved. I feel like she came home 🙂

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As for Falcon? Wild Life Rescue phoned me about a month after the whole ordeal to tell me that Falcon’s wing had healed and Falcon was making incredible progress and they would soon be working on getting Falcon back into the Wild. The person on the phone told me how they found it truly amazing that Falcon allowed me to pet and hold them, and how I wasn’t attacked. The guy who had picked up the bird was entirely blown away by the whole scenario and told people at Wild Life Rescue. I like to believe Falcon did make it back home. Whenever I see a Falcon I think about that day back in ’93, and the time I spent with a bird of prey.

Thanks for reading what turned out to be quite lengthy! Check out other bloggers, and their ‘Daring Do’s

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