Two days ago, a house finch smashed into our window. I yelled downstairs to my dad that this one was still alive so he came up and picked it up off our deck as it fluttered weakly. He cupped it in his hands then gave it to me since he had work to do but he didn't want it to die. "If you keep it in a warm dark place" (he meant my hands) "until it's ready to fly away, it'll probably live." I didn't really have anything pressing to do so I cupped my hands under his and he carefully slid his big hands out from underneath those teeny claws. I put one hand over it and I sat down on a deck chair holding this warm little scrap of life carefully in my hands, sheltering it from the world. I could feel it shivering and shaking, still in shock. I could feel its tiny beak against the tip of one of my fingers as it panted. I could feel its unbelievably soft little body producing an amazing amount of heat as I sat outside on that perfectly still morning while the sun shone and other birds sang and flitted through our garden. Finally, after a good ten minutes of this strange situation, the bird began to flutter and beat its wings wildly. Bemusedly, I opened my hands and watched it fly away, grateful that I got to hold that one little bird.
Incidentally, birds play a special role in my family. It is a love and a fascination that my father has always tried to share with us. He loves his little song birds, his thrushes, his downy woodpeckers and his hawks and ospreys and such. This is not the first time that I've saved a bird for him, nor will it be the last. I suspect that in imparting this love and admiration for his (excuse me) feathery friends, he has also imparted his deep respect for nature and his sense of stewardship towards the environment.