The Tale of Argo


From the rescue to his final flight, here is the full story of our little feathery friend.

Argo2

We all know lockdown has been pretty tough to cope with. Being stuck inside the house, no matter how much you love the people you are with, can be a struggle.
There was this one day where I was feeling pretty down, the weight of everything was leaning heavily on me. To cheer ourselves up me and Bipa (my wife) decided to go out for a little drive. Just as we got to the other side of the village we saw a small bird sitting in the road. I was sure as we got closer it would get out of the way like they all do. It didn’t. We drove right over the top of it, we didn’t squish it, just went over it. It was obviously not able to move and was sitting right in the middle of the A82.
Bipa asked if we could turn around so she could move it somewhere safe, so we went back. Thankfully the road was empty so I was able to stop while she jumped out and picked up the little guy.

Turning his beak up at the food we laid out for him, obviously it was not up to his usual standards.

We decided to take him home with us, he wasn’t making any attempt to move anywhere despite the danger of the cars and that area is crawling with cats, so leaving him would have meant bye bye birdie. While we were driving home we decided he needed a name and for some reason Argo just popped into my head and that was it, we had adopted a little sparrow. My dad found an unused freezer box which we padded with clothes for him to sit in and took a fat ball from the feeders outside. The problem was he was so little that it didn’t seem like he was even able to feed himself yet.

Later that evening, while we were searching through the internet to find the best way to look after the little guy, we got onto the topic of Tamagotchis. I’m sure there are plenty of people around my age out there who feel a warm sense of nostalgia when they read that name, followed quickly by dread when they remember what it was like trying to keep them alive while also being in school.
Half way through the conversation my mum left the room and then reappeared holding my old blue and red Tamagotchi.
As a joke, I went to see if there were any batteries that would fit and what do you know, there was one hidden in the back of the draw. I slotted it in, certain that after all these years of rusting in the back of a cupboard it wouldn’t work, but it did.
The Tamagotchi lives once more.

First thing it did was ask me to name it, and after a long day my brain couldn’t be bothered thinking of a new name, so now we have Argo the Tamagotchi as well as Argo the Bird.

– from Gotta Start Somewhere.

The Bird and the Beeps

For the first day we didn’t really hold out much hope for the little bird. He spent almost the whole evening sat in one spot in the middle of his freezer box.
The worst part though was the fact that he wasn’t eating, we suspected he was too young to feed himself.
That evening, we eventually decided to stop rubbing the crumbs from fat balls against his nose and took a slightly more assertive approach. We managed to gently prise the little guys beak open and, with a mix of flour and water suggested by a bird rescue website, managed to feed him. He was so weak that he barely put up a struggle but as soon as the food touched the inside of his mouth it was clear he was craving it.

So, happy days, he was eating properly and we knew he was too little to fly yet so the fact he was earth bound wasn’t a worry. What did concern us was the lack of noise. He hadn’t made a tweet nor a peep since we picked him up. There was nothing through the night or during the next morning. We fed him a number of times but as soon as that was over he went back to a state of quietness that is usually observed by monks under their vow of silence.
Even playing the sound of sparrows singing didn’t do much to encourage him, he made a couple of attempts to cheep along and seemed to be looking for the source of the sound but very quickly he became disinterested.
As I mentioned above, this little bird wasn’t the only Argo in our house. My old, newly revived Tamagotchi, also had the same name. My imagination for choosing names comes from my father, David William Saunders, and my grandfather, David William Saunders.
Argo T, as she shall henceforth be known, has a habit of making a series of high pitched, ear piercing beeps when she is hungry, or needs cleaned, or just wants some attention. We were sitting there with Argo B (the bird) when the Tamagotchi decides to pipe up. Out of nowhere, Argo B started to cheep back. We were shocked by his sudden outburst. I pressed a button on the Tamagotchi, causing it to make another sound. Again, the bird responded, this time bouncing around as he did. Argo B had woken up from whatever state he had been in and was suddenly full of energy.

Best buddies singing their duet. Wasn’t quite “Islands in the Stream”.

It was such relief to see the little guy perked up and ready to sing, the life had returned to our feathery friend.

– from The Heart of the Matter.

The Wind Beneath His Wings

So, Argo B was doing remarkably well. After initial worries we were thrilled when he started to perk up. Feeding became something we didn’t need to force but rather something he started asking for and with the help of Argo T’s beeps he managed to find his voice and was singing confidently all through the day.
It was during a particularly energetic moment of jumping across the bed that we noticed he was opening his wings. He was trying them out as he jumped around, though he wasn’t getting enough height.
So, very cautiously we put him up on a pillow that was raised slightly above the bed and watched to see what he would do. A few slides down the soft sides occurred before he gained the confidence to take a little jump.
He didn’t fly, of course, he was still far too small. He did however, flutter down slowly, obviously using his wings to control the drop.

We were so thrilled, we even managed to get a video which I unfortunately cannot upload here at the moment.
The family were all amazed to see just how well he looked to be getting on.

Paint me like one of your French birds.

The thing is, sometimes looks can be misleading.
That very same night, while we were all sat around eating dinner with little Argo B bouncing around in his freezer box, mum noticed that something seemed to be wrong. We went over to look and saw that he was trembling violently, like he was having some kind of fit. Then it stopped very suddenly and he just stood there, perfectly still.
We tried to feed him but he wasn’t interested, so it was back to the forceful method, which he didn’t resist at all. He wasn’t making any noise, not even the sound of his buddy Argo T beeping could raise a peep out of him. He just seemed so tired and worn out, so we turned the lights off and let him sleep.

And somewhere in the night, while he was peacefully sleeping, his little soul drifted away.

The next morning, after the tears and all the questions, we realised that, sometimes, things can just be too fragile for this world. We built a pyre, appropriately made from the wood of an old church organ, and gave him a send off that any Viking might envy.

He may never have had the chance to fly in his unfairly short lifetime but he’s up there now, soaring on the wind.

– from When Might it be Appropriate

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