Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rescued Swallow

One of the first hot springs we visited was a really nice one called "Old Caliente". It was a classic hot spring. It boiled and bubbled and splashed and steamed and flowed down a terrace into a cold river.

Here I am standing in front of Old Caliente.

As we wandered around the place, Andy was curious if you could wade into the river below the hot spring terrace and find a spot where the boiling spring water mixed with the icy cold river water and made for some warm temperatures just right for soaking one's feet. So he pulled off his shoes and went in, finding just such a comfort zone. (This was days before we visited Boiling River.)

After a while, another tourist pointed out something in the water. "Is that a turtle?" the guy asked Andy. Since Andy was already wading around in the water, he shuffled over to see what it was. It was stuck in the water weeds well out in the river where the water was frigidly cold--about 50 degrees or so. Bending over, Andy saw that it wasn't a turtle, but the head of a little bird--a swallow--just sticking up. The little guy was about half-drowned and struggling to keep its beak above water.

So Andy picked it up, carefully cradled it in his hands and brought it ashore.

These swallows are bug-eaters. I think what happened was that it was diving, or maybe skimming along the river and just fell in. And it got stuck in the weeds. You aren't supposed to muck about with the wildlife, but we made an exception. The little fellow (or gal) was almost totally exhausted. It could barely pick up its head from having tried to keep from drowning for who knows how long before Andy found it.

We ended up putting it in the meadow beside a log so that it could recuperate (hopefully) and get itself airborne again. In retrospect, maybe we should have taken it to the car and held it in front of the heater vent for a while, but as I said you're really not supposed to mess with the wildlife in the park. We had already done enough to get ourselves in trouble, I reckon.

But I'd like to think we saved the little bird so that it could hunt bugs and live longer.

The tiny bird was totally exhausted from trying to keep its head above water in the terribly cold river. I hope it recovered. It could barely keep its eyes open while Andy was holding it.

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