It’s the most frustrating time of the year: birdnapping season. Thursday night I got a call from a animal hospital saying someone had brought in a crow that was “not flapping its wings” and limping but had nothing obvious wrong with it. Uh oh. Sure enough, it had a bright pink mouth: a fledgling. Someone had found in on the ground and brought it in for rehabilitation, driving 11 miles from the place the bird was found to the hospital. Then I called a friend who lives near the hospital who drove another 17 miles to bring the bird to me. I confirmed there was nothing wrong with it, kept it another day, until Super Hub and I had time to drive 33 miles from our place to put it back where it was found. That amounts to subjecting the crow to 61 miles of driving and untold stress from vets, carrying cases, people, strange food, and enclosures for no reason whatsoever.

Fact: Birds leave the nest before they can fly. They spend several days on the ground figuring out aerodynamics. Their parents are guarding and feeding them. Unless the bird is obviously injured, leave it alone. If it is in a dangerous spot (like the middle of the road), move it someplace safe. And then walk away. The bird, its parents, your local vets, animal control, and rehabbers will thank you.

So here’s the plan: next time a telemarketer calls you, don’t hang up. Say “did you know that birds leave the nest before they can fly, so if you see a feathered bird on the ground in the late spring or summer, you should just leave it alone?” Then hang up. If a pollster wants to know whether you support the Republicans or Democrats, tell the person you believe in leaving fledgling birds on the ground. Want to lose a bore at a cocktail party? Repeat the message. You’ll be sharing important information and the person will back away slowly and leave you alone. Is the boss looking to off-load a tedious assignment on you? Change the subject to prevention of bird-napping. About to be cornered by someone with baby, puppy, wedding, or vacation photos? Strike first with these shots from the release of the latest┬ávictim:

If you see something, say something: namely, “let’s leave that poor bird alone.” And that concludes this year’s rant. See you in 2018.