Schrödinger’s bird: Suzu-chan lives!

I got an email from the Wild Bird sanctuary a few minutes ago about Suzu-chan.

I am happy to report that the finch you brought to Wild Bird Rehabilitation was released last week.  It stayed with us for about 1 month, gaining strength and good health.  Thank you very much for your concern!

Say what?!

I wrote them back:

You sent me mail last week saying it died! This is what you wrote on August 4th:

I am so sorry to have to tell you that Suzu-chan did not survive.  This sparrow kept its head tilted, which indicated to us some neurological damage, and it did not respond to treatment.  Our thanks for your kindness.

Which is it?

Everybody was really distressed about its dying. And I thought he had lots of strength when he came in, which is why I was surprised by your initial response. Now I’m surprised by the new email.

Please confirm which is correct!

They just replied:

Urg!  We got our numbers all mixed up.  You were asking about #4470, but the number was really 4770!  Your bird was the one that was released last week, happily so!  And you were right – it had a lot of energy and strength, which increased in treatment, so that it was able to fly free as of last week.  My sincere apologies for causing grief.  Please be happy now!  Thanks.

So I think Suzu-chan is alive. Maybe. I wouldn’t know for sure unless I saw it at this point. And in one email they referred to it as a finch and the the next a sparrow. Though those are interchangeable sometimes I know. For example, Java Sparrows are also called Java Finches.

On another note, Kokita-san tells me Chako is doing fine and will send me a photo. But Purple has become Schrödinger’s cat.



Sadly, Suzu-chan did not make it

For those who followed the story of the baby sparrow I found and tried to save:

I’m sad to report I got this email from the bird rescue center today:

I am so sorry to have to tell you that Suzu-chan did not survive.  This sparrow kept its head tilted, which indicated to us some neurological damage, and it did not respond to treatment.  Our thanks for your kindness.

I am feeling rather down about it…


Suzu-chan, a little lost sparrow

This morning, while returning from a walk around Lafayette Park, I came across a baby sparrow, fallen from a nest onto the baking hot sidewalk. Its mother was nowhere in sight. Nor could I immediately see a nest.

bird-1Not wanting it to lay there and die from overheat or predators, I picked it up and brought it back to my friend’s house. I tried to cool it down with some water. It wouldn’t drink any, but seemed to relax in my hands. And I could feel its heart beating.

bird-2I looked up some information on the Internet, and it suggested locating the nest and placing the bird near it, even on the ground, and then step away, because the mother would come looking for it and take care of it. I was skeptical but gave it a try.

I found the nest way up in this tree (indicated by the arrow).

bird-3It was obviously too high to return the sparrow to its nest, so I laid it in a garden next to the tree and stepped back about 100 ft. and waited to see what would happen. Nothing did.


Meanwhile, Step, a neighbor, came out to check things out and said that if left there the bird would die because even if the mother found it, there was no way of getting it back to the nest, and cats or other predators would get at it overnight. He, and other people in the neighborhood, like Lynne, recommended I take it to the bird sanctuary in Overland.

I called the sanctuary and they asked some questions, like can it perch on my finger. It was trying, but could not yet. So they said to bring it over.

Here is Suzu-chan (suzume is Japanese for “sparrow”) all buckled up in the car ready for his trip to Overland.

bird-5And here is is after arriving at the bird sanctuary. He was occasionally opening his beak for food, which looked cute, but I couldn’t grab a photo of that in time. Because of his feathering, yet because he could not yet perch, they described him as “pre-fledgling.”

bird-6He was actually a good deal healthier than he looks in that photo. He could crawl about quite a lot, which was a relief. I knew he was in safe hands.

Here he is after transferring to the little container they made for him at the sanctuary. He has sort of a grumpy expression on his face, but I think he understood he was in safe hands.

bird-7And here is my last photo of Suzu-chan before the attendant took him away. He looks like he is saying good-bye to me. He is “patient 4770” and I can email and check on how he fared in 14 days.

bird-8On the drive back from Overland to Lafayette Square I had the oddest sensation that somehow all the serious events which led me to come to the St. Louis this summer, and maybe all of those for years and decades before, where somehow all for the purpose of having me be right there at that point in time so I could save that one sparrow’s life.