There was a great and harrowing adventure at Rosenblatt Stadium late in the afternoon of June 24th. The event was not significant in any dramatic way, but was a time of peril for one unwilling participant among the many other activities on the scene.
While on the south plaza of the stadium – at Fan Fest – and selling a book which chronicles the history of the place, there was a little chirp heard right beneath the table where people were lined up to get their copy autographed by the primary author. And the only place where there was a bird watcher present.
It was a fledgling, female House Sparrow, as indicated by a bit of downy featheration still remaining. Seemingly it had walked across a section of the plaza which thronged with fans, ticket sellers, 4x4 vehicles going to and fro and a whole hubbub of people and things which could have easily have ended the little birds life in a moment. Apparently the sparrow had fledged from a portion of the stadium structure, about 50 feet across this space.
This little bit of a bird, stopped and crouched on the pavement, in the shade and obviously resting, but it was a spot where it could not remain.
So it was carefully captured and placed in the shade of a cardboard box, atop a nearby planter. There it quietly sat, looking about yet ignoring completely all the sports-related action. With the box eventually to be taken away, the little sparrow was moved over a couple of feet, into the shade of the plants.
There it sat some more, still lively yet still. My co-worker kept looking to see how the bird was doing and nothing changed except her increasing concern for its fate.
Eventually it was given some goldfish crackers, as perhaps this would help. The disturbance of placing the crumbs nearby, caused it to fly a short distance, just a short ways west. Its tail was still short and not entirely grown, and the wings were stubby and capable of providing a limited ability to fly, basically nothing more than a few feet.
The little sparrow only made it to the front of the adjacent booth, where one of the girls shrieked at the sudden arrival of the unexpected bird where there should be customers.
It was obvious the little thing had to be captured and put back at a safe place, or its demise was probable.
A first attempt at capture was not successful – the little sparrow made a weak flight over to in front of another booth. There it was slowly yet certainly caught, to the surprise of the women at the adjacent booth, as they perhaps wondered how some guy could capture a bird?
Back the House Sparrow went to its previous haven, where it sat, chirped occasionally - as loud as it could - because as it was certainly getting hungry. There was no response from any of the adult sparrows flying around in the immediate vicinity, but it would have been difficult for a sparrow chirp to overcome the sound of a ball-game announcer, and that unceasing noise of people and vehicles, including a plane droning overhead, pulling an advertising banner.
Concern by my coworker increased, and she kept looking every few minutes to see how it was doing. It was doing fine, but its fate was certainly unknown. Nature would pitch its own outcome, there were plenty of ways it could be put out of the game.
When it was time to close the booth for the day, the sparrow had departed to somewhere. By listening closely, it could be heard a few feet to the south, at another big planter.
Then, when looking towards the little bird’s place on the corner of the planter, there was an adult House Sparrow – its father – was giving the fledgling a bit to eat. Along came Mom as well, doing the same and this portion of the clan were reunited, and junior was once again getting proper attention from its parents.
A dismal prospect changed, with a great potential for the little sparrow to survive another day, and hopefully long enough for it to fly to a safe haven.
This whole little escapade took place while tens of thousands were focused on a hard ball, when the real adventure was the fate of a little bit of bird life.
This is the only birdly anecdote for the finals days of the College World Series, in its waning hours at its home for decades, the revered Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium which will soon be torndown, as a new stadium is being built as a replacement.