Wild Kingdom

You know what’s weird? Now that I work downtown, I see far more woodland creatures than I ever did when I worked in the lush, tree-lined suburbs of northern Illinois.
The only difference is that in the city, all the animals are dead.
So far this week I’ve seen a dead bird every single day on my way out of the train station.
Monday: Nuthatch
Tuesday: English sparrow
Wednesday: Starling
Thursday: Yellow finch (Or possibly a wadded up McDonald’s bag. It was in the street so I couldn’t really get a good look.)
On Tuesday, I saw a woman in a business suit rip a piece of paper out of her fancy leather portfolio, pick up the sparrow, and deposit it in the trash can. I wonder if she does that kind of thing all the time. Maybe she canvasses the city looking for dead animals so she can give them a (semi) proper final resting place. Do I admire her or pity her? I’m just not sure.
This mass slaughter started to get me a little worried about what might be killing the small birds of Chicago. Is the air so polluted here that they are literally dropping from the sky? Is there a massive gas leak in the area that our inferior human senses just haven’t been able to detect yet? Is there a sniper on the loose?
As I stared up, looking for signs of a rifle or a high-powered slingshot, I realized that my train station is in a thirty story glass building, and these birds were just victims of their own poor eyesight. They saw the building just a few precious seconds too late. Oh, sweet little nearsighted birds. I think, if only I could mend those broken wings. Fortunately, this is a fleeting thought, and I quickly go back to sipping my BananaBerry Jamba Juice.
You know, if that woman really wanted to do some good, instead of daintily scooping up the bird carcasses and tossing them in the garbage, she would paint a gigantic picture of an owl on the building so the birds would stop slamming into it. That’s the problem with these do-gooders – they lack planning. Anyone can clean up the mess after it happens. But what those birds really need is someone who’s more proactive. Am I right or am I right?
Well, I’m off to work. What will it be today? Any bets? Even odds on sparrows. A robin will get you ten to one odds. Twenty to one on a hawk. Sixty to one on a swan. Takers?

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