Tuesday, April 5, 2011


click on pics to enlarge
I saw two birds on the country road as I was returning from town.  They were cardinals.  One was obviously hit by a car and dead.  As I carefully drove past I noticed what the other cardinal was doing.  I turned around and stopped the truck a short distance away from them.
The bright red male was standing beside his mate picking up her wing and dropping it.  He would run entirely around her stopping periodically to pick up her wing in his beak as if to hurry her off the road.  There was no traffic yet so I tried to figure out what I could do for them.
I was emotionally moved by the dedication of the male cardinal to his mate.  He would run entirely around her a couple times and stop to lift her wing.  A car passed by me and the male ran off the road only to return to his fallen mate and tried again to lift her wing and make her follow him. 
Of what help to him could I be?  The only thing I could think of was to move the little body off the road, which I did.  The red male flew to a nearby bush and watched as I lifted his mate and carried her to the grass in a field and set her down.  I returned to the truck.  He immediately flew to, and landed at her side.  I could see his head drop to hers and return to an upright position.  He was determined to make her move.  But, she never would again.  She was gone.
I saw cars approaching and had to drive away.  I was deeply moved by this demonstration of devotion by one wild bird for his fallen mate.  It is said that animals can't feel emotion and that they are moved by the hard wiring of evolution alone.  I don't think so.  They feel pain, happiness and joy and yes;  they feel loss and sadness.  Confusion is another word that may apply.  The male cardinal may have been confused as to why his mate would not follow.  I have seen this in other animals and I am convinced they feel sorrow.  It is a sad thing to observe.  It doesn't take a great effort to press the brake pedal slightly to let a bird pass by in front of your car safely.  Please have compassion for them and any creature near a roadway.