Tildy, Chadds Ford's favorite bird

August 12, 2009 3:49:53 PM PDT
The story of a bird that almost died from buck shot and how a community came together to save its life.Tildy, short for Matilda, is a domesticated guinea fowl who is convalescing under the loving ministration of Barbara Hoffert and friends.

Tildy's saga began last winter when neighbors noticed her and her mate Gerald foraging along a hedgerow; soon, the pair was the talk of the neighborhood.

"Inseparable, they move around quickly and they would never be more than 5 feet away from each other," Colin Dyckman of Chadds Ford, Pa. said.

Alas, poor Gerald disappeared, likely the victim of a fox.

Guinea fowl are monogamous. Folks in this Chadds Ford development were touched as little Tildy seemed to look for her lost mate in certain reflections.

"That's when she started doing the hubcap thing," Lois Steele said.

"She started chasing cars, seeing reflections in the hubcaps. Maybe she thought that was her mate," Barbara Hoffert said.

Tildy became a fixture. Neighbors, who once only waved to one another, now talked about their bird; then in June, Tildy went missing.

"All of a sudden she wasn't there to greet you in the morning near your car," Dyckman said.

She was found badly hurt. Someone had shot her.

Tildy's leg was shattered and had to be rebuilt. A neighborhood collection has come up with more than half the $1,600 vet bill. There is talk of more fundraisers.

Today, Tildy is getting stronger, nibbling on greens, eating bugs and she seems to enjoy the attention.

Her fans describe her as "plucky."

When Tildy heals, the plan is for her to go to a nearby farm where she will join an existing flock of guinea fowl. Hopefully, Tildy will enjoy the company.