Uneasily I approach the top stairs of the subway's Q platform at Union Square. Glancing down, I see it's packed right to the edge, impenetrable, five deep, New York evening rush hour. I make my way down the steps, carefully meandering through the throng. I hold the paper bag close to my chest and create a buffer with uplifted shoulders and slightly turned out elbows. The content of my sack is delicate; it holds the patient.
Last week it was a common yellowthroat, the week before a woodcock (one of three found injured in the city that day), today it is a shivering pigeon. Huddled on a ledge over a real estate office window, with temperatures in the 20s, it was doubtful he would have made it through the night–the NYC Audubon injured bird report emailed earlier said he had been there since 9 a.m. When I arrived, he seemed a very unhappy bird. I climbed an adjacent stairs so I could reach him, then quickly grabbed him and placed him into the bag. Now we wait together for the next uptown train.