The Rose Finch
By B. Gallatin
Published: October 18, 2011
Updated: October 18, 2011

I sat in a rocking chair with a fresh cup of coffee and a cigarette on the front porch every morning all summer. Banished from smoking in the house by my wife. Most birds at the feeder would leave as soon as I opened the front door. One Rose Finch stayed and fed on the black oil sunflower seeds as though I wasn't there. I sensed that something wasn't right with him. I watched as his health slowly deteriorated over the summer. He was losing his feathers on his back. His flying ability wasn't precise. More than once he missed the perch and landed in the bushes. Each time, I picked him up and placed him on the feeder where he would eat his fill. A normal bird wouldn't allow someone to touch it.


I searched google to see if losing feathers on his back was a symptom of some disease that could be treated. I searched also for vets in the area that specialize in birds. I found one answer mentioning bird mites. No definitive answers as to a treatment. The avian Vet specialists seemed to be listed for exotic birds only. I had grown fond of him, and had I found a cure or someone willing to look at him, I would have jumped at the opportunity to help him.


I was disheartened last week after some cool rainy days because I didn't see him. I thought he was dead for sure. Also, there is a neighbor's cat who likes to stalk birds from those very bushes the Finch landed in when he missed the perch. The cat's name is Gospel. Gospel's owner loves to tell you that Gospel means good news. Her cat isn't good news to me.


I saw the bird one last time a few days ago and haven't seen him since. I will assume he is in the loving arms of the Bird Lord, if there is a Bird Lord. I feel sure the cat hastened the trip from this world to the next.


I can't believe the loss and sadness I still feel over the passing of this unnamed little Rose Finch. I suppose he reminded me of my own mortality and how age has slowed me down.


I had to admire his courage and never-give-up attitude. This little bird showed me the way to live, never giving up on life and to fight to the end.