When Nature and Urbanites Meet. Or, Is That a Real Bird?

While walking down Broadway in the 80s yesterday, I spotted this scarlet creature just hanging out in the middle of the sidewalk. I stopped to peer at it, and in the process gathered a curious crowd. Because when a New Yorker actually stops to look at something, chances are good that it’s a total train wreck. Or A-Rod.

In this case, it was just a little lost red bird, who certainly didn’t belong in the middle of the sidewalk. The question, “Is it alive?” was quickly answered when one woman gently tried to pick it up. Scarlett flapped her little wings and safely landed on this woman’s shoe:

It was obvious that the poor thing was not feeling well, so the proprietor of a stationary store brought out a box and the bird was whisked away to a nearby vet.

I have no idea what kind of bird this was.  I was raised in Chicago in a little house with  a postage stamp backyard, by parents who were nature freaks. They planted things. They watched nature shows. They took us for walks in the woods, during which time my brother and I would say how awesome it would be if we could go bowling. Or to Disney.  Anyway, I like hanging out in nature, as long as there’s a nice hotel room waiting for me at the end of the journey. My parents are appalled that I took the path I did, which is an appreciation of all things manmade. Like shoes and iPads and buildings.

I quickly texted a picture to my friend N, who actually goes birdwatching in Central Park. His verdict? Probably  a Scarlet Tanager, which occasionally take up residence in the park. And like any good uptown New Yorker, they winter in the tropics.

I hope Scarlett recovers and gets to go back to frolic in the park with her peeps. (Get it?) For me, it was a nice reminder that gorgeous things live in New York City. Besides A-Rod.


One comment

  1. linden78 · June 21, 2011

    We just looked up the Scarlett Tanager on wiki (as we are not familiar with such a beautiful bird, either). It’s interesting that Scarlett was just hopping around the street as description identify that breed as one that stays in highly-wooded forests. Poor little thing must have gotten lost along the way, perhaps during migration. Hope the little guy was ok!

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