Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Something happened while driving the truck yesterday that was both horrible and wonderful, if that's a possible combination.  It is when they occur at different times.

I was driving away from the Cherokee Tailrace on Route 92 headed toward the the furthest river access point when I caught a flash of red streak past the truck's windshield followed by a thunk.  I knew a collision with a bird occurred and I was saddened by it.  A quick check in my rear view mirror showed a small red bird struggling in the center of the road.  I was suddenly moved to turn the truck around as fast as I could and do ---- something, anything.  I couldn't leave him.  I stopped dead - backed up into a drive way and sped back toward the little guy laying on the road.  A car came down the road and thankfully went safely over the tiny bird.  I quickly did a U turn and went back down the center of the road and stopped in front of him with my 4 ways on, got out and scooped him up in my hands and quickly departed.  Departed for where, I knew not.  I called the TWRA office and they gave me a phone number of a Wildlife Rehabilitation Person who lived in Dandridge.  As luck would have it she lived about three miles from my home.  I called the phone number and a lady answered who gave me directions to her home and I was off.  Now I had a destination and the little bird's life, it seemed, depended upon me getting it to this lady.
I instantly knew I'd like this lady when I saw the sign above that sat in front of a rather weed filled flower garden.
Lynne McCoy answered the door when I rang the bell and instantly directed me to bring the little bird inside where she held the little fellow up to here ear.
Her well practiced and gentle hands moved the tiny body this way and that until she finally said that his tiny heart was racing and strong but she heard a clicking sound when "he" breathed.  Yes, this tiny bird is a he.  Ms. McCoy mixed up some kind of potion and with a tiny stick, laid some of the paste on the bird's tongue and wiped it on its lower bill.  She said that this will slow his heart down and relieve stress as well as nourish him.  The wings were held out to check for breaks, the legs were fine and there was nothing to do but to allow the patient to rest inside a safe, quiet cage.  There was nothing more to be done.  I was told that the next seven to twelve hours would tell the tale.  By the way, we are dealing with a Scarlet Tanager.
This lady has been rehabilitating critters for over 40 years.  Bless her soul.  She is selfless in that she refuses any credit for what she does or money for that matter.  I asked her if I could interview her for my blog and she said I could as long as it will benefit the animals and not her.  Amazing!  Her home is full of cages with baby raccoon s, all types of birds, possums, and just about anything else including crows and a garage full of cages with injured raptors.
 Above:  baby doves, their mother killed
The raccoon s are babies that were saved after a car killed mom and the rest of the babies as they crossed the road.

This morning around 8:30 AM my phone rang.  I was on the job at the lake.  It was Ms. McCoy who said she had news.  The little tanager was flying all around the inside of the cage and was ready to be released.  I was over joyed at the news and sort of choked up a little. She asked if I wanted to come down and release him as I was the one who found her.  I told this fine lady that I was hours away and not to keep the little bird in captivity longer than necessary and to go ahead and let him have his wings once more.  Lynne said that the tanager was an adult and would instantly fly all the way back home and would beat my truck back if we were to race.  These birds have a natural GPS built in and I was assured that the tiny red streak would fly unerringly all the way back to her home.   

Just a little bit of extra effort saved this tiny creature from certain death.  Instead of disaster,  he now lives to amaze bird lovers who can gaze at his brilliant red plumage and listen to the excited, happy notes of joy she will offer them.