A tiny black and yellow head looks out from between my fingers

A tiny little black and yellow head looks sideways at me from between my index and middle fingers.

This impossibly light and fragile little Canada warbler is hanging on to my fingers with all her might, her necklace of black feathers against her yellow breast are hidden below my fingers. She is an excellent patient though – relatively calm and when droplets of medication were placed on her beak she swallowed it right away. Even opened her beak when a droplet was ready for her.

Its unfathomable how this tiny beautiful creature can fly all the way to south America for the winter, and back all the way to Canada again next summer. She is smaller than a golf ball!

A house sparrow outsmarted me.

I’m sure it was terrified at first, then when it realized how much quicker it is than I am, it was probably laughing as it dodged me in its enclosure. Cheeky thing even landed on the rim of my net just to make a point. Then it escaped its enclosure.

The staff person who was there with me caught it on the floor of the room. In another room an hour later, I was able to catch a different sparrow using a net, and transfer it to hold in my hand for treatment. It was then placed in a brown paper bag to be weighed and to wait as I cleaned its enclosure.

When its space was clean and food and water was replenished, I released it from the bag and back into its enclosure. Carefully.

Image: ©Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark