Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Titmouse Vertigo?

This is not the first time I've seen a titmouse with a problem. It was very cold yesterday. Sometimes when it's cold the little birds will puff up their feathers to stay warm. My eyes spotted the little titmouse sitting on a low branch. It let me get quite close. I watched, because what I saw was disturbing. The wind blew and the titmouse tipped over, hung onto the branch, but very obviously could not fly. It finally righted itself, but then tipped again, tried to fly, then fell into the leaves where it stayed. It was paralyzed, could not fly. It had the power to grip though. As I watched, its eyes began to look very sick. I've seen unwell titmice before. The last time , back in 2005, the titmouse had taunted an owl who had taken a swipe at it and broken its neck. That titmouse was on the ground twitching, going in circles, trying to fly, head at a bent angle, obviously at the end of its life. Yesterday's titmouse had no obvious wound. I don't know what the problem was..... sick?, concussed?, neurologically impaired?, poisoned?, too cold?, starving? When I finally walked off its eyes were bright and clear. This morning I returned to the spot expecting to find a tiny carcas. No evidence of the titmouse. I'm hoping it recovered.

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