You are not seeing an optical illusion or the work of fancy graphics software. No my friends, this is the real thing; a live crow lodged in the grill of a 1970's Lincoln Continental. It all started with my coworker Carolyn driving to work, making her usual run along Union Avenue when out of nowhere this Crow began to take flight. Colliding with the grill of the car, the impact caused the right wing of the crow to get jammed inside the grill. Without missing a beat, Carolyn paid no attention to the situation and proceeded to drive to work and ignore her new hood ornament.
I learned of the incident after I had already arrived at the college and another colleague came by with his digital camera showing me two photos; one of which adorns the top of this post. "Only Carolyn" was my first response followed quickly by, "I've gotta see this." Apparently the bird was still alive in the grill and Animal Rescue was summoned to make the rescue. As I made my way to the car to examine the bird and it's misfortunes, the expression on the Crow's face was clearly one of disgust and embarrassment. As if I expected the crow to be fluent in the English language, I looked at him and actually said out loud, "that's one fine mess you've gotten yourself into. Does it hurt?" As if the bird actually understood, though silent, it's expression appeared to be one of response; which I interpreted as "I know, I know, I really messed up this time. From here on out, I'm sticking to worms and bugs. No more road kill."
Having a total lack of animal skills and not much in the way of brains, I thought I should at least make an attempt to rescue this poor creature. It's quite amazing how much you can learn about crow's by simply getting close to them. Suffice it to say, at that moment there would be no rescue and I retreated to my desk and some anxiously awaiting students who couldn't log on to the computers.
About an hour or so had passed and the computer literacy rate had skyrocketed since my return. As things slowed down up in the lab, I thought I might go check on the crow whose gender I decided was male (all the signs were there) and whose name I chose as "Maury" (for no particular reason). Upon my arrival I saw that Maury had quite actively been trying to escape as I could only assume his deep embarrassment was finally overcome by some great amount of pain. With no sign at all of Animal Rescue and a team of EMT students assessing the situation (Carolyn is one of their mentors - God help them), I decided that this time, not only would I take matters into my own hands, but also that I would not fail in my quest to rescue Maury.
After reassessing the situation that the Crow had found himself in and discussing the possibilities with the crowd of students, I grabbed two good size branches using one to collapse the grill (we determined that the grill must have some give which caused the bird to get stuck in the first place) far enough and the other to carefully jimmy the bird loose. It worked! Maury was free but not without serious injuries. It was evident that his right wing had been severed and there appeared to be no chance for Maury to ever fly again. He bounced around grimacing in pain (okay, maybe here I am stretching it but not that far from the look and sounds of the moment) and wouldn't you know it, the moronic crow bounced himself right into the middle of the street. Luckily, traffic was nonexistent. I went to try to get him out of the street but he got all crow on me and started making biting motions with his beak. I then gently tapped him with the two branches which I still had possession of and finally directed him to a grassy area across the street on the grounds of another town school. From there, I returned to my workplace and offered the following statement by email to Carolyn:
"Since it was I that masterfully removed said bird, please write a checque for $129.95 to the National Audubon Society in honour of Maury, the formerly right-winged crow who learned his lesson the hard way.
Hmmm, I'm not a bettin' man, but I bet that's the first time someone ever served grilled crow while it was still alive!"
Leave it to me to make two bad jokes at the expense of a bird who more than likely wouldn't have much longer to live.