The little bird was sitting by the front door this morning when I came back in from feeding the horses. I figured she must have hit the glass front door and was either stunned or dying, because her only acknowledgement of my politely curious Labrador was a tiny half-step limp.

I watched her eyes momentarily open and immediately close as her already labored breathing grew heavier and heavier. She stayed motionless for the few minutes I crouched next to her, even when I stroked her back.

I knew she was going to die.

I wanted it to be on her terms, though. My logic wasn’t entirely thought out, because flying into a human’s glass front door hadn’t really been on her terms, either. But she was exposed and vulnerable to predators, so I carried her to the magnolia tree, where I set her down and covered her with a few larger leaves to discourage the two hawks already on patrol overhead.

I just went back outside to throw her small body away. The leaves rustled as I approached, and the little bird burst from the camouflage, flew up onto a magnolia branch, and then off into the cobalt sky.

I knew she was going to die.

But what do I know.

Photo by Andraz Lazic on Unsplash