A Bird on the Road


The downpour had done nothing to quell the heat wave on Sunday. It was too hot to walk my dog Indu any longer. Suddenly she gave chase after a little bird in the middle of the road in my Long Island suburb. As a border collie mix, Indu’s instincts had kicked in as she crept up then lunged toward the animal.

I expected the bird to fly away, but instead the grey colored flicker stood still facing the dog from just a feet away. Surprised, Iquickly grabbed the leash and brought Indu closer to me. The bird didn’t move or make any effort to flee.

A minute or two flew by and the flicker kept going in a circle moving its orange striped head in every direction as if searching for something and trying to convey to us a message.

 I wondered if she was physically hurt, but it turns out the pain was emotional.

“I think the bird is suicidal…” I heard a neighbor taking the garbage out say. “She just lost her babies in the storm,” he added. He heard them all day until the winds came gushing.

Saddened by the look of this lonely lost mama bird, I sat down next to her and explained to my dog what happened. As if she understood, Indu calmly sat next to the poor bird as if communicating with her in a language only they know, telling her she’d be alright.

As we were leaving, the bird flew past us into a parked car’s door twice before continuing her search. I wanted to help, but didn’t know how. I called a friend who does parrot rescue, but she told me to let nature take its course. There was nothing I could do to help her find her babies or ease her emotional turmoil.

Ten minutes later I returned with bread crumbs, but the bird was gone. Perhaps she found her lost babies or recovered from the initial shock and flown away.

Storms now have a different meaning for me. I will remember this precious bird every time I hear thunder.

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One thought on “A Bird on the Road

  1. Dear Lavanya,

    I ran across your writing in a pet article that is connected to a television news media. It is great that you are an advocate for dogs. You seem to write for groups and organizations. How did you get started doing this? Was it planned during college?

    Thank you.

    Kind regards,

    Thomas Cole

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