Here’s how this event unfolded..cell phone photos below
While walking over to meet my wife at Trader Joe’s in Rancho Santa Margarita, I was cautioned by a store employee to watch out for an injured bird who stood upright but unable to fly and lay on a store entrance floor mat. Initially, the bird appeared to have a broken wing as one was folded under her belly. The woman mentioned her boyfirend was coming but that she would turn the bird over to me since I had indicated I was an avid birder. Initially, I made the error of thinking this was a Lesser Goldfinch. Much to my surprise it was a female Wilson’s Warbler. The bird is around from Spring to Fall here in socal and very active high in the trees. They are next to impossible to photograph without getting what we birders call “Warbler Neck”. Now I’ve got one in a box in rescue mode at the base of my feet. I called a few friends and one had suggested to post in the Orange County Yahoo birding group in which I did indicating a need for assistance. Within moments the replies were coming in. As we drove home, the bird jumped out of the makeshift box and into a portal in our console. We were about 3 blocks from the house and she began flying around in the car..oh joy. We kept our cool and pleased with this good sign but how we wanted to assist and nurture anyway we could. After we pulled in our driveway we opened all 4 of our car doors and freed the female Wilson’s Warbler. Sad to let her go yet the right thing to do.
We estimate she flew into a store window and may have suffered a concussion. A local birder wrote when this happens they typically sustain brain injury and soon die. We’ll never know nor do we want to know but we are so grateful to have such a unique moment occur in our lives.