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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Gooseberry Neck, Dartmouth, MA - December 28, 2013

The sky was a brilliant blue as we dashed across the stone-strewed beach. The object of our dashing was in no need of our speedy movement in its excellent direction as it was just barely visible, bobbing in the waves in the center of a wind swept cove. As presumably has not been surmised as of yet this eminent bird was a Dovekie, a name which would inspire awe in a birder and in a non-birder an “aww”.
Now standing upon the wave washed rocks of the shoreline and we (“we” being grandfather, brother and I) majestically stared at the feathered object in a manner commonly seen in action movies. Perhaps it was our powerful but compassionate stance that drew the bird to us, although it seems to me more likely sheer chance, yet whatever it's reason, it came.

Paddling to shore (strangely; via wings) it squirmed itself up the beach and politely leaped onto my brothers leg who, like me, had lowered himself to the ground in order to obtain the best photographic perspective.

With this final curios act perpetrated a panicked scramble across Dartmouth began in order to assure survival for the creature. A bird who had so willingly accepted being placed in the back seat of our car, submerged under a blanket. The fact that there were no open wildlife rehabilitation centers was not particularly surprising as it was not only a Sunday but also the winter holidays.

When this disappointing fact was finally recognized, we had no choice but to return to birding because we wanted to and the Dovekie seemed comfortable where it was.

As the awesome sun was drawing near its daily demise, we had only time to bird Allen’s Pond. This location yielded nothing more exciting then a male Ring-necked Pheasant, a year-bird for all.

The sky now dark, we retreated to our urban abode for to spend the night, with us came the Dovekie to be handed to a rehabilitator on the following morn. It spent the star-light hours in a box in our comfortable basement where it seemed surprisingly at home.

Examining the bird we could find no visible or invisible injury on the perfectly mobile bird other than a small patch of missing feathers upon the rump.

It was this that the rehab, which received the feathered package, identified as the issue. Probably caused by the casually aggressive swoop of a gull this bare-ass patch de-waterproofed the fair creature - a sure casualty of nature if not for my bold and heroic rescuing.

Once again I must thank my grandfather for his company, the use of his locomotive, and the opportunity his generosity provided (for me to be noble). 

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