We were banding Hodgdon Meadow today and we found a sick bird in the net. It had some sort of parasite or tumor, but its eyes were almost completely covered over. I couldn't forage and its fercula hollow was empty which means it was starving. I have pictures that I can send if anyone is interested, but I'm not going to post it here. We had a real dilemma trying to decide what to do with it. Jeff wanted to euthanize it because it was suffering, but I took a while to reach a decision. My first inclination was to let it go because it could provide a meal for some other creature, but I eventually decided that we had handled it enough and that it was better just to put it down. If it had been able to fly away on its own, the ethical choice would have been to let it go. There is a humane way to euthanize a bird, and Jeff was the one who did it. I don't think I could have. The rest of the day has been really hard on us; everyone is here because they love birds, and when one dies it is really difficult to keep going.
Don't worry; this rarely happens, and I know things will get better.