"Rio" and My Newfound Love for Birds

Seldom does an animated feature film impact me so deeply that I leave wiping away tears.  I look at my son, Colin.  He sits at the edge of his seat, intrigued -- kept the 3-D glasses on, the entire 90 mins.  Yes, the visual effects were splendid, the avian characters cute, and most importantly, you feel attached to a geeky blue macaw that can't even fly.

The storyline goes like this: Somewhere in a small town in Minnesota a timid macaw, Blu, lives with Linda, his owner for the last 10 years.  When they discover that there is only one other female blue macaw remaining, the two set for Brazil so that Blu can mate with Jewel (Anne Hathaway).

Interestingly, Rio is Fox, not Pixar, you couldn't tell.  The plot is solid, the music enchanting, the characters lovable.

As you stay gripped by the excitement, your compassion for the underdog leads you to root for Blu, to survive and ultimately to win over Jewel's heart.  But there is another bittersweet relationship with Linda who is perilously attached to Blu.  The story ends sweetly, albeit surprisingly.  You will have a difficult time staying still, your heart just wants to take a flying leap.

Barn Swallow
Seldom do I leave the movie theater, my mind spinning during my entire drive home from Herndon to DC -- seldom do I feel compelled to take action.  A movie is just a movie, unless it causes you to do something that you would normally just dismiss.

I was put to the test the very next day.  As my roommate and I were getting ready to head out for a 25 mile spin along the DMV loop, I noticed an injured bird in front of my house.  Her left wing was torn at the ligament, perhaps an attack by a hawk.  The swallow was completely black with an orange belly and a narrow yellow beak.

Normally, I would have  just walked away, not even noticing the bird in distress.  But I couldn't help but think of those laughing, lovable birds in "Rio."

The swallow tried to hop away from me, but my roommate and I quickly caught her and put her inside a cage in our and stocked her with plenty of food and water.

As frightened as the swallow was, we knew she wouldn't survive the night.  There were too many predators out here: stray cats, raccoons, hawks.  We had to take her in and nurse her back to health.  Tomorrow I will call the Maryland Ornithological Society to see if they can fix her wing.

Thanks to the geeky blue Macaw in "Rio",  my awareness for birds, their environment and hazards have been greatly heightened.  Thanks to "Rio," I've decided to get a female mate for my sun conure.

Update: DC Wild Animal control came and picked up our injured swallow the very next afternoon.  She was traumatized but well fed and rested.

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