A snow-sprinkled lawn on a winter’s day may be pretty to look at or even to play on with a beloved pet. Such icy conditions can be detrimental to smaller wildlife, though. And Indianapolis woman Crystal Kelley soon discovered the dangers that the weather posed to some animals when her Yorkshire terrier came across a small bird struggling to survive in their back yard.
After Kelley had sent her furry friend Lily out into the garden, she had noticed the dog becoming distracted by something lying on the frozen ground. So Kelley approached her pet and discovered that Lily had spotted a bird in the snow. And, unfortunately, the tiny creature was seemingly in a bad way.
Upon realizing what the object in question was, though, Kelley commanded the curious pooch to stay back. And in video footage later uploaded to YouTube, she can be heard talking to the dog in a concerned tone. “Lily, you leave the birdie alone,” Kelly warns the terrier. “You need to come inside.”
On closer inspection, though, Kelly saw that the bird wasn’t moving; its little body was entirely frozen as it sat on the snow. Furthermore, the animal’s small wings appeared to be immobile after being stuck together with ice.
Then, after noting the immediate danger the bird was in, Kelley acted fast and seemingly on instinct alone. She placed the creature in a green plastic bowl and covered it with a blanket. And as she carried her precious cargo towards the house, she came up with a plan to help.
With growing concerns for the bird’s survival, Kelley acted on an idea to create enough heat to thaw out the ice that had rendered the bird immobile. And while the Indianapolis woman may not have known whether she would succeed in her endeavor, she was determined to give it a shot.
So Kelley carefully moved the bird towards her house. She was reluctant to take the ailing animal inside for fear of it going on to cause havoc inside the home; there was also her cat’s reaction to consider. In the end, then, Kelley left the bird and the bowl outside.
The animal was placed close to the back door, however, so that Kelley’s hair dryer would be able to reach the creature. Skilled with just her caring instinct, she subsequently turned on the dryer and very carefully began to move the warm air over the bird’s frozen feathers.
At first, Kelley’s patient showed no signs of recovery and remained very still in the bowl. “I didn’t put the blow dryer on high and warm him up too quickly,” Kelley later explained in the description of her YouTube video of the rescue. But as the much-needed heat continued to make contact with the animal’s cold body, something amazing happened.
When the ice melted, allowing the bird’s feathers to thaw, it became obvious that the creature was still very much alive. And as the warmth of the blow dryer fluffed up its feathers, the rescued bird even appeared to hop slowly up and down and turn its body towards the hot air.
The revitalized animal gradually began to regain energy, in fact. Perhaps most promisingly of all, though, and after approximately two hours of being dried, it would slowly began to move its wings. It seemed, then, that the once-lifeless bird was ready to take flight again.
And Kelley watched as her brief companion did indeed find the strength to soar up and head home. “Oh my gosh!” she gasped as the bird took to the sky. “He flew away! Did you see it?” It was the perfect end to the valiant rescue effort.
What’s more, Kelley’s kind gesture came to even greater attention once footage of her salvage mission was posted on YouTube. To date, the clip – which shows Kelley finding and eventually thawing out the bird – has been viewed in excess of 75,000 times on the site; it has also received nearly 250 likes.
And several commenters were full of praise for Kelley’s actions. One person wrote, for instance, “Smart and fast thinking. You saved [the bird’s] life.” Meanwhile, another individual said, “Truly spellbinding to watch. Almost surreal that a wild bird that was virtually dead was bought back to life in this way.”
Then after a video recap of the story was posted to The Dodo’s YouTube channel, Kelley was commended yet again in the comments section. “That bird was adorable, but this rescue was fantastic,” a YouTube user wrote in response to the clip. However, another person chose to commend Lily for playing her part. “Good girl, Lily, finding the little bird so it can be saved,” they said.
Some outlets covering the story advised people in similar situations to seek professional help, though. Lady Freethinker, a non-profit focused on animal welfare and rescue, responded, for example, by explaining, “While this heroic woman successfully saved the bird, it’s important to remember that life-saving measures are best left to trained experts.”
Lady Freethinker also advised readers, “Wildlife rehabilitation services are state-regulated and can usually be found via a simple Google search. If you find injured wildlife, research non-profit and government organizations in your area that are capable of assisting the animal.”
Not everybody agreed with that recommendation, though. One woman revealed, for instance, that she had been told by Florida authorities to “kill” wildlife that she had found. Another person suggested, moreover, that it may have been too late for the frozen bird if Kelley had waited for a rescue team to arrive at the scene.
And in the end, it seems as if Kelley did the right thing by taking matters into her own hands. Thanks to her quick thinking, her desire to do the right thing and enough patience to carry out the task at hand, she may very well have saved the life of a bird in the cold weather.
But credit is also due to Lily, who had discovered the stricken animal in the first place. And Kelley chose to pay tribute to her dog on Facebook page Yorkies Forever. There, she wrote, “My Yorkie helped me find this bird. As you can see, she was very sweet to it… Yorkies are the best.”