I thought the rehab season was over. Then ten days ago I got a call about a beautiful adult blue jay. He had taken it upon himself to fly into a window and given himself an impressive whack on the head. He was turned into VCA animal hospital, and the report I received read “P holds the left leg in an abnormal position, the 2nd digit appears to be bent backwards. . . . Euthanasia if not improving.” Yikes.
He spent the first day with me clinging to the side of the cage, hanging upside down. He’d start with his head at 12 o’clock and then slowly lean to one side until his head was a 6 o’clock. And there he’d stay. I couldn’t figure out whether he liked that position or didn’t know how to get down. In case it was the latter, I’d place him on the ground, he’d go nuts, flap around until he got a grip on the bars and start the whole process again.
He also would not eat. Most corvids refuse food when they are in a new environment but can be enticed with treats after the first 24 hours. Not this guy. He rejected all the go-to favorites: pinkie mice, peanuts, almonds, etc. SuperHub bought two kinds of wild bird seed but that was a fail as well. He eventually settled on a diet of Science Diet kibble and egg yolks. Not exactly Mom’s home cooking.
Rehab birds usually come to terms with being caged after few hours. Not that they like it but, by definition, they are not feeling well. The room service and climate control is also seen as a plus. It’s sort of an avian Hotel California, without the pink champagne on ice but with an option to leave eventually. December Jay did not sign onto the program. He was miserable the whole time he was recovering from his unfortunate interaction with a pane of glass. No cheeps, squeaks, or squawks. No jumping on food. No caching. No bathing. He did manage to bestir himself to make a mess by spreading the rejected food items throughout the enclosure but that was about it.
There comes a moment in rehab when you’ve done all you can do. Either the bird is going to make in back in the wild or it needs to be put down. DJ was not going to get any better on a limited diet with no other birds around, clinging onto an enclosure wall in terror. So I decided to try to release him. He managed to escape when I was putting him in a transport box, which was vastly annoying but a sign of recovery.
DJ was picked up 30 miles away, down I-95. If you live in these parts, you know 95 South always looks like this:
But then, anyone who has been in a Mall since Halloween also knows:
Therefore, I had no choice but to get DJ back home. Cue Christmas miracles. As I pulled onto 95, there was light traffic. I could drive like a normal human being. The signs that usually taunt “next exit 10 miles; 572 minutes” were reduced to “Santa knows if you’re speeding.” Less than an hour after starting out, I found DJ’s territorial cul de sac. When I opened the travel box, he hesitated a second and flew past my shoulder. He hovered a moment and I thought, oh no, he’s going to crash land. I took a step toward him and then whoosh, he flew off around a row of hedges. When I got to the yard on other side, he was nowhere to be found. There was a sign on the front door of the house that said “Home of the Byrds” (for real). Perry Como starting crooning in the background as a snow flurry began and the final credits began to roll (not so much).
DJ is home, Gwen & Stephen’s stockings are up, Zen and Snafu have brand new towels for their respective enclosures, and mice is on the menu for dinner. So the birds have food for a feast. Now all we need is He Himself, the Grinch, to carve the roast beast.
Their Corvid Majesties and staff wish you merry Crowmas.