Today while waiting for the bus, I saw an injured bird stuck in the middle of the street.
I didn't see it fall. I guess it dropped out of the grand live oak across the street that has branches extending over the road. One minute I was sitting there at the stop alone; the next minute, there was fussing in the road: There was the hurt bird, and there was another bird next to it, nudging and pushing it. The hurt bird wasn't moving, despite the other bird's help. After a bit of trying, the other bird gave up and flew away when the first car came. The hurt bird continued to sit there dumbly.
A car, then another car, then another car came along. It was a residential street so people weren't speeding along; but I could tell that the people in the cars were seeing the bird and were kindly and doing their best to avoid hitting it.
Me, I sat there dumbly staring at the whole (to me) horrifying scenario. What the fuck should I DO? Go out in the road and pick up the crippled bird and move it to the yard across the street? I was not so much scared of the (mild) traffic, but I was scared to touch the hurt bird (is it going to struggle and peck at me?). And I had memories of a couple of attempted baby-bird rescues from my youth...the birds always died.
I sat there cringing. Maybe 5 more cars went by, all managing to avoid hitting the bird.
Despite the various cars passing, the bird finally shook off its shock and slowly hopped over to the closest yard. Then, feeling MUCH better, flew up into the big live oak. PHEW.
It turned out well for the little bird. But not so much for me. I learned that I am a complete coward. I should have helped the bird out of the street. But all I kept thinking was, "Just how injured is it? Is it going to hurt me if I try to touch it? Is it going to die anyway even if I move it; would it be more humane if a car just ran it over?"
Kudos to the bird's friend for initially pushing at it to get it to move. THAT bird-friend was the real hero that I couldn't be.