Last Monday, my friend N.D. showed me a juvenile crow who had been injured by a dog. I offered to keep it in my room. N.D. said, “You can try keeping it for a day – and then give it back if you don’t want it.” I agreed and picked up the bird that evening.
I had a very hard time sleeping that night, as the perch and nest I had constructed for the bird were not very stable and he made some noise. By the next morning I was torn on whether or not to give the crow back to N.D. But, before I had the chance to let my wish for peace and quiet overwhelm my meagre compassion, N.D. told me someone had brought her another juvenile crow – thinking it was the first. So now we both had crows and neither of us wanted to accommodate two.
So I decided to keep the bird for awhile, until he was ready to return to the wild. I named him Gonpo Severus Snape Tsering. This was not the first time for me to give a pet a ridiculous name. My geko in highschool was named Demothenese Theophany Chi (I had just finished reading Ender’s Game, hence the first name).
After a day or two, I learned to live with the bird, how to feed him rice and fruit, how to make his sleeping place dark so he would actually sleep, and how to wash my hands with Detol soap after every encounter. Gonpo seemed to enjoy his time sitting on my window sill, pooping, and asking to be fed.
As the days went by he seemed to gain strength. He evened out his damaged tail feathers, and eventually could fly from one end of my room to the other. He still insisted on being fed by hand though, no matter how I tried to teach him to eat food that was placed in front of him.
Yesterday he figured out how to jump to the overhang of the window below mine. I was able to retrieve him only when he made his way, sill by sill, to the ground three stories below. Although my intention was to release him eventually, I was hoping he would figure out how to find food for himself before then, so I brought him back up to my room.
Today he jumped out of my window and flew from sill to sill, until he reached the end of the building, and then launched himself into space. I went down to ground level to look for him but there was no sign.
I have been expecting, everyday, that my relationship with this bird would end in a bittersweet manner, and so it has. I hope that, somehow, he will find food, a safe place, and be able to escape the harms of dogs, cats, and others who would do him harm.
It was meaningful to care for Gonpo. He wasn’t a cuddly sort of pet like a puppy, but I could tell he was benefiting from my help. Do I miss him? Not so much as I just wish him well. If he is found, and needs care, then of course I will care for him again. In the meantime I’ll just send him my prayers and love.