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There was ice on the patio under snow under ice. And then it started snowing again.

I stood at the patio door and looked out. At the Desert Willow which seemed to be bearing its ice burden well. At the Apple Trees which had begun blossoming a week ago and might be toast. At the Mexican Honeysuckle whose orange blossoms were weeping orange stains on the snow. At the frozen birdbaths. At the footprints in the snow. At the small bird sitting in one of the footprints…

Wait. What?

There was a tiny bird sitting motionless in a deep print in the snow. 

I opened the door and stepped out. The bird didn’t move. I walked up. It didn’t move. I reached down. It turned its head and looked up. I picked it up between my hands and went inside.

It was very small, very soft, brownish-grey, and had a streak of yellow in its wings — baby Lesser Goldfinch perhaps. It didn’t move as I stood in the kitchen, but it was watching me.

holding the bird I found in the snow

The fair and industrious Trudy fetched a small box and put a towel inside. And a syringe. And some birdseed. We got it to take a quick drink. I set it in the box on the towel and closed the lid. Trudy returned to work. I returned to the recliner. Izzy hopped onto my lap. 

Ten minutes later, Izzy’s ears perked up. There was a scratching, pecking sound coming from the box. A minute later, her ears perked up again. More scratching and pecking. I went to look. Prying the box slightly open, I could see that the bird had hopped to the top of the towel and was calmly peering out.

Not enough time to warm up, I decided and so shut the box. After five more minutes, there was louder, more determined scratching. I took another look. The bird looked up at me.

I reached down, picked it up, went outside, and slowly opened my fingers. The bird faced into the breeze. I held the finger of my other hand toward it. The bird looked at me and then hopped onto my finger. And then onto my forearm. And to my shoulder where it turned around, took a jump, and fell.

I picked it and wrapped my fingers about it. Then opened them and held out the other finger. It hopped up. Then onto my forearm. Then to my shoulder where it took a jump, flapped its wings and was gone.