I noticed him two days ago, sitting in the little water dish on the balcony. When most birds visit, they’re always flittering about, never sitting still; he did. Although his head moved continuously, his body never moved. Instead he just sat quietly on the dish.
Normally the baby chickadee’s come with their mums but this one was all alone. Because of this and the fact he wasn’t moving, I thought perhaps he’d hurt himself. I opened up the sliding door to fetch him and as I walked towards him he didn’t move at all. Yet when my hand got close enough he flew to a nearby tree.
When I retreated inside, he flew back to the balcony and there he’d stay for the next couple of days, feeding, drinking and sleeping. Sometimes he’ll disappear into the trees nearby, but not for long. The comfort of my balcony always brings him back.
My first reaction to this bird was one of great sadness. It’s obvious he’s little and lost his family and doesn’t really know what to do. My instinct was to help him somehow, take him somewhere, make things easy and remove the struggle. But after watching him survive the past couple of days, slowly figuring out the bird feeder, the water and the bird house, I’ve come to realise that the best help for him would be to let him figure things out on his own.
Although he might look scared, confused and hopeless, he’s not. He’s learning to survive and each new thing he does will be more useful to him than my taking him to some bird sanctuary where they’ll lock him up and feed him manually.
I’ve named him Biggie because, despite being little, he’s doing big things. He’s found food, shelter and water in my balcony. He’s even fought off a couple of finches that challenged his territory. He’s learning, he’s surviving.
Biggie has made me realise that he’s no different from people, really. That sometimes it seems far too easy to rescue someone, to let your experience save them or guide them or make their journey easier. But often, it’s the trying, the bumps, the scared moments that really teach us to survive. Biggies proof of that, which is why the story of a little bird living on my balcony isn’t tragic, but hopeful.