By MIKE CORN
HILL CITY -- As soft-hearted as she is soft-spoken, Laura Frazier wasn't about to stand by and do nothing as a bleeding bird thrashed about wildly outside the window it had just smashed into.
Never mind that the sharp-shinned hawk's talons are as sharp as hypodermic needles and powerful enough to rip apart smaller animals, or that its beak can shred flesh.
Despite all that, this slight-built 94-year-old Hill City woman couldn't stand the thought of seeing the bird hurt.
So she rushed to pick it up. And held onto it for nearly an hour, until bird rehabilitator Carrie Newell, also of Hill City, could arrive at her apartment to retrieve it.
"I just wanted the bird taken care of," Frazier said from her living room.
And never mind that the bird was able to stick its talons into Frazier's wrist, an injury that even she didn't notice until one of her helpers -- whom she had never met before -- saw the wound and rushed off to get an ointment.
Frazier shrugged off her injuries.
"It was teeny," she said.
All she was concerned about was the bird.
"It hit that one," Frazier said of the pane of plate-glass window, "and it made a noise."
When she went to investigate it, the bird was laying beneath the window.
"The bird was bleeding," she said. "It was flopping its wings."
The bird was on its back.
"I don't know what kind of bird it was, but it was pretty good sized," she said.
That's when she picked up the bird. She went to her neighbor's apartment and said she needed help.
"I wanted some help for the bird," she said.
She and her neighbor went to the apartment complex's handyman. Another man, one she didn't know, also came to her aid, and told Frazier of Newell.
"We walked around," Frazier said of what they were doing while awaiting Newell's arrival. "When she came she took the bird. She said, 'You did the right thing.'
"I said I'm too soft-hearted."
Newell is well known in Hill City and elsewhere in Kansas for her bird rehabilitation efforts.
Newell said he hurriedly took the bird from Frazier out of fear that the animal might cause further harm.
It could have been so much worse for Frazier.
"It tried to bite me," she admitted.
She also admitted that she "had brains enough" to grab the bird so that it couldn't use its talons to spear her or rip at her with its beak.
As she was holding the bird, blood was dripping from its head.
"My hand had quite a lot of blood," she said. "I don't know how it kept from killing it."
Frazier admits she didn't know what kind of bird it was, but said it was pretty.
Newell said the bird was a sharp-shinned hawk, and actually had only minor injuries. She released it back into the wild the day after it smashed into Frazier's window.
"I don't care what kind it was," she said. "I couldn't let it lay out there and die."
Frazier repeated how soft-hearted she was.
"I've been that way all my life," she said. "I can't watch fights. I can't watch wars. I think war is so unnecessary. I think it's for the people who want money. And the boys pay for it."
Frazier admits the bird became heavy, as they walked about waiting.
"I know they thought I was a damn fool trying to save that bird," she said. "I don't care. That bird needed to be saved. It was worth everything to have that bird flying around."