We have had birds this year. First there were the grackles, unruly invaders of our kitchen via the fan vent. That was an episode I would rather forget. Then there were the wrens. They made a nest outside our kitchen window, and we were able to watch them come and go and feed their young. There were perhaps one or two chicks in the nest, and I was amazed at the steady stream of food that the parents had to go out and get. If our boys had eaten like that, we might have pushed them out of the nest!
I went in to the office this morning, preparing for the new school year. When I got home a note on the floor greeted me: There is a bird in the house.
Oh good! There’s a bird somewhere in our house, and I know that means nothing else happens until we persuade it to leave.
Now, if I were Saint Francis I would go to the bird and talk to it, take it gently from the plant in the basement where it was hiding and soothe its trembling fears. Together we would walk outside and I would release it into the freedom for which it longed.
I am not Saint Francis.
Lois does much of the killing of insects and such things. Spiders, ants—whatever needs dispatching she takes care of. She has even had to get rid of baby mice. But birds are another kettle of fish (so to speak). Sometimes we do not work well together; our minds run in different channels, and cooperation on projects can be difficult. (Such as our back fence, which we built with wood and many words—but that’s another story.)
But this time we would have to work together to help this bird leave our basement. How did it get in? We think that the door to the garage was open a bit too long, and it flew in and down and found itself trapped. In any case, we had to get it out.
We established that we had to make sure it would not fly to the basement windows, which allowed no escape. So we built a wall of sheets between the bird and the rest of the basement. Then Lois went upstairs and held another sheet beside the stairs to guide it towards the front door, while I tried to make it fly. Failure.
Then we turned off the lights so that it would stop hiding on the dry bar in a plant under a light. I probed with a yardstick to persuade the bird to leave. Finally it left its perch and fly to the bottom of the stairs. And stopped there, sitting on the floor. I held a big black barrier between it and its erstwhile abode and tried to get it to fly upwards. Instead it flew towards me, seeking the safety of its corner. I jumped up and down with my barrier, making myself as big as I could. Next thing the bird flew up and out of the house. I heard a cry from Lois, “Praise the Lord!” And then the sound of a door slamming shut.
Now Lois is cleaning up the evidence of the bird’s fear, left where it hid behind the plant, while I type this brief story.