and definitely dead.
If I had got dressed at a decent hour, I might have come out here in time to release it. But that could have been even worse -- there was no way to free that bird from inside the feeder. I had to tug hard to pull it through. It would have been terrified to see me -- let's hope, at the end, it was only puzzled. And I had to pull so hard it would certainly have died in my hand.
So the day started with a death. Maybe a little death, but a big complete one for that bird. It didn't know it was simply an expendable common house sparrow. In itself it felt just as unique and all-important as an ivory-billed woodpecker would. It was a whole world. A few inches long, but containing the incredible spark of life. Warm, operating smoothly, competent -- well anyway, up until the moment it was not all that competent.