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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A closeup of the head of a black hen.]

I found her in July 1994, under a car in front of my house in fully urban Chicago, as a desperately squawking hungry defenseless fledgling maybe 2 months old: whence her name. Something would have eaten her within an hour. . . .

Instead, she lived a good life, eating sunflower seeds, but also treats like bananas, almonds, and Cheerios or anything made of oats; sometimes sitting on the scanner in my office or, as here when she was just a few weeks old, walking around on the breakfast table:

[image ALT: A young hen standing on a basket of fruit.]
For a few weeks I didn't even know what kind of bird she was. . . .

For another portrait of the early period, see the Nov. 11, 1994 entry of my diary.

As feisty as any bantam hen, she terrified most of the cats. Here, however, is a picture of her with the one cat who wasn't afraid of her. She was as affectionate as a chicken can get, and for me alone made special little gurgling noises.

She died suddenly at home on Jan. 19, 2002. Just an hour earlier she'd been fine, clucking away.

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Page updated: 13 Dec 02