A dying bird on the road

September 13, 2008

Today gets to be remembered as the day that I drove over a bird on the road as it was fighting for its own life, and rapidly losing that battle.

I was sitting at a traffic light, waiting to turn left, and I was the first person at the light. When the light turned green I drove through the intersection, turned to the left, and just after I came around the corner there was a small sparrow flapping around in my lane. It was facing me, and it looked like its legs were broken. He was trying to flap and move out of the way, but it essentially was on its belly, flapping its wings, but to no avail, it didn't seem like it could go anywhere.

On another road, another time, I might have tried to stop and do something for that little bird, but here I knew that there were 20 other people right behind me, and if I stopped there was going to be a major accident.

The bird was in the center of my lane, so I didn't run it over, I just drove over it, but I'm sure he was soon dead. The event reminded me of the part in a Disney movie where something has to die, or more like a National Geographic episode where a lion is shown killing a deer or some other animal.

Finally, this also reminded me of a Northern Exposure episode (warning, spoiler coming) where Dr. Fleischman goes on a hunting adventure with Holling and Chris, and at first is incredibly excited by the act of shooting. On the second day he actually hits something, a bird, and when the bird doesn't die right away Holling and Chris tell him that he needs to break its neck. Unable to do that with his bare hands, he embarks on an effort to save the life of the bird he just shot.

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