Last year, my balcony was haunted by an ugly, mangy, bald-pate sparrow, which I christened the “worthless crapbawky,” because of its unkempt appearance. I theorised that the poor bird’s mate must be pecking it bare, because it showed no other signs of illness or distress, and because although it hung around all summer, with its fledglings, its feathers never grew back. Seen head-on, it was an ordinary, rather cute sparrow. From behind, it was a horrid mess of crinkly birdskin. Kind of like the classic horror-film shot, where a whole-looking person does a slow turn, to reveal a craterous landscape of ruined flesh, on the other side of his face. (Gus Fring, anyone?)
Anyhow, after the autumn migration, I never expected to see the crapbawky again. A wild sparrow’s life expectancy is on the short side, especially in the case of a damaged specimen. I imagine it’s quite rare to see any house sparrow two years in a row, much less a garbage one. But this morning, first thing, I looked out my window, and there it was: the worthless crapbawky, feasting merrily away. Congratulations, crapbawky, on weathering the winter. I’d knit you a little hat, but a) I don’t knit, and b) you look stupid enough, already.