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Susie Grant nows knows what it's like to hold a wild bird
And she can now gloat. She has one on that brother of hers, Willie, who lives in North Carolina and would give the world to have the experience Susie Grant had yesterday afternoon, on her porch, in Little Cake.
By Ed Waggener
It was an experience Susie Grant will never forget.
Lots of birds come to Susie's shady backyard in Little Cake: Bluebirds, robins, cardinals, wrens, and yellow finches. One of the prettiest occasional visitor is the red-wing, red breasted blackbird.
She feeds her bird guests, walks among them and talks to them. "I love birds," she said.
After what happened last evening, she knows what it is to hold a wild bird; to hold a wild bird who stayed with her of its own free choice.
And, more importantly, she is one up on her brother, Willie, who lives near Raleigh, NC. "He loves birds," Susie Grant said, "and he would love to have held one the way I did. But he never has."
Willie is Susie's American sibling. They have a sister, but she stayed in their native Germany.
The way the bird came to be so close is the story. It flew into her glassed storm window this afternoon. Birds do that, often with tragic results.
"I heard the noise and I looked out," she said, "and there he was. "I thought he had to be dead."
He was still and lifeless. "I thought he was dead," she said, "but I picked him up and held him and started stroking him," she recalls. "I talked to him and I told him I wasn't going to harm him." Then the bird started showing more life. "He looked up at me with those big eyes. He seemed to trust me," she said. "I think he must of been just addled."
She didn't restrain the bird as she held him. He was free to fly any time he chose. But he didn't. "He wouldn't fly a way," she said, "He just sat in my hand. He trusted me.
"I didn't choose for him to stay with me," she emphasizes. "He chose to stay with me."
She called her daughter, Hilda Smith, to come over with her camera. Her thought was that the picture would document her triumph over that brother of hers, Willie, over in North Carolina. "I wanted Hilda to send the picture to Willie. He wouldn't believe it otherwise. He couldn't believe that I had held a wild bird in my hand."
Hilda arrived in time to take the picture, the full color proof to send to Willie. The picture came out great, but with a cost.
It could have been a longer term bird/bird lover relationship. "He must have stayed with me for the better part of one-half hour," Susie remembers. She thinks that the bird would have stayed longer, had it not been for the photographer's dog, Buddy.
Buddy barked. "Buddy scared the little bird, and it flew away," she said.
That's what Susie Grant wanted it to do, all along, though it would have been nice to have shared the wonderful moment a little longer.
The little bird didn't fly too far. Just up to a nearby tree. "He'd still look back at me," she said, "like he still trusted me."
Maybe he'll land on her hand again. Maybe he'll let her hold him and let her talk to him and let her tell him how beautiful, how wonderful, he is.
If he does, that will be grand. If he doesn't, it's okay, she says. She now knows what it is to hold a wild bird.
She knows that others have been able to earn wild birds trust before here. She saw it while on a trip with her Sidney, her late husband, while they were visiting in Switzerland.
"There was this old man, a real old man," she said. "and he would feed the birds and talk to them and the the wild birds would sit in his hand. I thought how I would like to do that, but I never in my wildest dreams thought it would happen.
Now it has, today, and that has made it a big day for Susie Grant.
"Any time I can get one on my brother," she said, "that's a big day."
This story was posted on 2007-05-08 06:31:49
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