Pulsars, Plants, and Present Participles

'Journeys in Hong Kong and Beyond'

Bird on a Tile

“Mr. Fraser there’s a bird upstairs.”

“Pardon?” I asked confusedly.

“A bird! In Azalea class. It’s still breathing.” She, a young student at my school, replied as though I was daft for not knowing what was going on.

‘Monday morning just got interesting,’ I thought. I’ve only been at school for a minute and already there’s a feathery tale. I went about my regular routine, got the key to the computer cabinet from the office, put my lunch in the staff room fridge, and thought little of the supposed bird.

In the staff room I bumped into the class teacher of Azalea’s better half and asked about the bird. “Bird?’ she said, surprised by the very notion that one might be in the school. “I haven’t heard about a bird.”

Ahh, the imagination of youth, I thought, and began my climb up to the 3rd floor. As I rounded the hall corner I noticed my fellow colleague nudging an unconscious bird towards my classroom door.  “There really is a bird.” I said in a hushed tone and it was not in Azalea class.  I moved closer for a better look.  Sure enough the bird was still breathing, it was belly up and my colleague was placing chairs around it to protect it from the onslaught of curious children hyped up after a three day weekend.

“What is that?”

“Is it alive?”

“Can I see it?”

“Is it dead?”

“What’s it doing there?’

Can I touch it?”

“Is that a bird?”

“What is that?”

The curiosity of kids is boundless.  I quickly pulled out my phone and Googled what to do.  I can’t imagine how we got anything done in the time before Google.  Looking up things in books is for the birds. Actually in this case I used Google for the bird. Anyway, Google informed me that I should place the bird in a box. It told me a lot more but essentially the 8 steps I found consisted primarily of getting the bird into a box and away from children and other harmful things like their hands and feet. I grabbed a couple paper towels, asked the bird not to wake up and attack me once I touched it, and proceeded to carefully lift it off the floor and place it in the box.  The bird thankfully complied with my wishes and remained unconscious.  This was no small bird, it was clearly a raptor with its rather large sharp talons and a beak that had a fine tipped rostrum that did not look like something one would want thrusted at their soft flesh. A quick Google search informed me that it was a Milvus M. migrans, commonly known as a Black Kite.

After getting the raptor into the box I took it outside away from the children and away from big glass windows, many a bird’s’ worst enemy.  Once out in the sun the bird did not take long to recover. As I opened the flap to the box the bird awoke with a stir. Its yellow rimmed eyes darted my way, wings stretched and then crash, it fell asleep again. With one wing propped against the box the bird laid sprawled out like a college student after a rough night out.  It took sometime for it to awake again, by this time the excitement had dissipated and the crowd consisted only of myself, my fellow bird wrangling and the principal.   We left the brown raptor alone in its  drunkard like pose and returned to work.  I later looked down from the balcony to see it standing in the box looking about, as if thinking. ‘How did I get here? and, Where the heck is here?’ I’m not too sure how much longer it took him/her to fly off. When I looked again an hour later she/he was gone off to catch some small rodent to cure the headache she/he no doubt had.



snoozing in the box


Passed out like a sailor on shore leave.



Fraser • 04/05/2015

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