Dhà Fheannag (Two Crows)

This morning I drove out to Seaforth to volunteer in the gift shop for Hope for Wildlife's Old-Fashioned Christmas By the Sea. Fortunately, as I am not the volunteering-in-a-gift-shop sort, I was soon tasked with pickups and spent the day rescuing two injured crows.

The first was near downtown Halifax in a neighborhood largely populated with Dalhousie students and professors. The young woman who called the crow in gave excellent directions, and I found it beneath a tree beside a church parking lot, hobbled with what appeared to be a broken wing. Its companion high in the trees alerted it to my arrival and screeched a warning while I chased it into a corner of the church's architecture and covered it with a blanket. The crow went still, as most birds do when covered that way, and I was able to package it into a carrier and put it in the car.

The second was in a park near the Bedford Highway in Bedford. The young woman who called this crow in was vague, and Hope warned me it might be a wild goose chase. But I parked the car in the Tim Hortons lot, asked questions of passers-by in the nearby park and scoured the area anyway. Just as I was about to give up, I spotted it in a clearing across the stream, favoring its right wing. When I went to rescue it, however, it flew with some difficulty into a tree and hopped from branch to branch out over the water to get away from me. Knowing that crows are wild things who should be left in the wild if they can be, I evaluated this bird as fit enough to care for itself and returned the first one to the Hope for Wildlife facility.

Hope received it with some sadness, because even though the bird was bright-eyed and alert, its wing was infected and perhaps broken in the joint. Infections are treatable, of course, but a wing broken in the joint can almost never be repaired so that the bird can fly again. In those cases, it's euthanized. Hope for Wildlife is a rehabilitation facility, not a sanctuary, and its goal is to rehabilitate where it can and end suffering where it can't. It's a hard line to take sometimes and not one I think I could, myself. But I don't have to agree with everything the organization does to support its work, and it saves the lives of so many animals.

Tonight my crow (and yes, I do think of my rescues as 'mine') is sitting in a warm, safe place with plenty of food and water while it awaits the attention of a veterinarian on Monday. Hopefully we'll learn it only has an infection in the wing, but I fear otherwise. I can't help but think that of my two crows today, the one that limped into flight was luckier. Of course, an infection can become septic, which means the one I rescued is lucky too, in a way, even if it is euthanized. That said, I offered a prayer for its life when I said good-night to the ocean on the way home. There comes a point at which my ability to intercede reaches an end, and I can only give over into better, more capable hands.

Tomorrow I'm on call for pickups again while the Old-fashioned Christmas by the Sea continues. I wonder what the day will bring...