The Bird Doctor
The story behind my painting, “The Bird Doctor" unfortunately is rooted in tragedy. We were filming some of the exotic animals at the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary in Costa Rica and received special permission to go behind the scenes and interview the vets feeding the baby sloths and some other "warm fuzzies" from the jungle.
Just as we got everyone mic'd up and turned the cameras on, a woman holding a solemn expression and a Fed-Ex box walked into the room. Her eyes locked with the other vets and then all attention shifted to the faint rustling coming from the box in her hands.
They carefully tilted the box onto the polished aluminum table and out slid the small mangled body of a parrot that had recently bounced off the windshield of a speeding car. It's wings were shattered and its beak was cracked in half partially hanging from the side of its face.
The vets didn't miss a beat and went straight to work. The bird screeched out in agony as they gently picked it up and injected painkillers. I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to stay but they said it was OK and allowed us to continue filming as they administered to it. It was both difficult and amazing to watch.
Now I'm not sure what happened to that bird after they finished mending everything they possibly could. And if I'm being honest I don't really want to know because I fear it was beyond repair.
But in that moment I was able to witness in real time the undeniable custodianship we as humans have over nature. We are the only animals given this mantle, and it is a heavy and fragile responsibility.
I painted "The Bird Doctor" to remind me of this.