June 4, 2014 —
While traveling along a Pike County roadway, my parents, some friends and I came upon a small bird stranded in the middle of our lane. Tilted backward onto its tail feathers, with its beak open to the sky, we feared the worst for this helpless creature. As we looked for a place to pull over, several other cars passed above the bird, which appeared unable to move. Dad hopped out and gently gathered the beautiful orange and black bird into his hands. When he returned to the car, we saw that our new friend was a male Baltimore oriole that probably collided with a vehicle.
Uncertain about the extent of the bird’s injuries, we continued home, hoping for the best and discussing how we might provide for its needs. Fortunately for all of us, the tough little bird made a quick recovery, regaining its ability to fly in roughly an hour.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to help a juvenile catbird recover after it crashed into a window. In both cases, the birds needed little more than a helping hand to get them out of harm’s way and to give them time to recover their senses. This can be as easy as temporarily placing them in a dark box in a quiet place.
I mention this to encourage appropriate action on behalf of our regional wildlife. Turtles and snakes are also on the move now throughout the Upper Delaware region, making perilous attempts to cross roads before encountering speeding vehicles. Simple actions can make the difference between life or death.
For starters, slow down to avoid harming wildlife. If you see a turtle crossing a road, grasp it gently toward the rear of its shell and move it in the direction in which it was heading. Alternatively, a stick can be used to nudge it along gently. Or simply stand nearby and alert other motorists while the animal completes its crossing. Snapping turtles pose a risk to inexperienced handlers. Visit www.riverreporter.com/issues/10-06-10/rivertalk.html  for special instructions on the best way to assist them.