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The bird whisperer


June 14, 2012

Plunk! Something had just struck one of the windows that look out on our back porch. Being curious, I went out onto the porch to see what had caused the noise. To my chagrin, I found one of our little wrens lying unconscious on the deck.

Kneeling down for a closer look, I noticed the bird's beak was open and its eyes were closed. Its spindly, tiny legs were crumpled beneath its body. Apparently, an environmental tragedy had occurred. I could not help but notice that the beautiful dark and light markings on the wren’s feathers could be used to make some really pretty soft hackled flies. Then again, perhaps the bird could be revived. Gently, carefully, I picked the wren up, cradling it in the palm of my hand. Unsure of what to do, I tried breathing my warm breath onto the bird while trying to croon what I hoped would be comforting sounds.

Ah, the birds’ beak had closed and the eye facing me has opened. The legs however, were still limp and seemed out of shape. If the legs were broken could it survive? I placed it back on the deck to see what might happen. Shortly, my tiny patient fluttered its wings and stood up on those fragile legs, using its tail for additional balance. Moments later, it flew a foot or two, winding up beneath the grill. After a brief pause, it flew off into a nearby maple tree. There went my chance to tie some unusual soft hackle flies from those pretty feathers.

Hopefully, it should not be much longer before my ailing knee will allow me to resume wading in trout streams. Monday, June 4, an orthopedic doctor had removed a quantity of water from the knee. He then proceeded to administer a shot of cortisone into the knee. The doctor felt that in six days or so I should notice considerably less pain. It turned out the doctor is an enthusiastic fly fisher. He showed me a photo of a very large brown trout that he had caught from the West Branch of the Delaware. A nice fellow, one who seemed to be typical of many of the new breed of fly fishers.