Wednesday, August 02, 2006

House Finch


We had an unexpected guest in our home overnight. Some how, some way, a little birdy found its way inside our house and ended up trapped in the basement. Poor thing. I may not have known if I hadn't gone downstairs to empty the dehumidifier bucket. Things get lost down there.

I should have known something was going on, except that I was too dense to put the following weird Cat things together:

First the Cat was not upstairs to wake me up at 6am to worship and feed her. I figured it was a sleep in day.
Second Cat was crouched on the floor in the office alone in the dark of the basement and this pleased her. And this is the Cat that won't go to the basement alone any longer than it takes her to use the catbox.
Third the Cat was motionless, still like a statue, not even noticing me. Not even to complain about her empty food bowl.

It was after I dumped the dehumidifier water out into the tub and walked out of the bathroom that I noticed something in the window moving around. I looked closer and was flabbergasted. A bird! A LBJ (Little Brown Job)! A female LBJ! In my house! Why in the hay is a bird in the house? How in the heck did it get in here? I stepped over toward the window for a closer look and then it flew past me and landed inside the My Little Pony castle hiding in one of its little rooms. I replaced the humidifier bucket and proceeded to consider my options of removing the bird, without killing it, from the house.

Mind you, this is all before my A.M. coffee, and breakfast, I'm not getting points for being bright at this time. Please don't think poorly of me.

I looked for a small hand towel to use to grab the bird out of the castle, because that way it won't get hurt, and I can cover it up as I take it outside. Man, how smart am I? So smart.

Watching me, the cat, knowing I am an idiot has selected a viewing point next to the bookcase where the castle rests. She's ready to play offense.

I crept over to the bookcase. I looked in the castle and moved it around so I could open it up and figure out what room this 'ol gal was hiding in. Meanwhile the cat is anxiously waiting for this bird to move or me to kill it. I'm thinking she's hoping for the killing option. She hasn't been fed since last night.

I begin to talk to the bird a la Snow White, because dammit I watch way to many Disney DVDs, so much so that I actually believe that this bird will understand that I want to help it, not kill it. My word. I am an idiot. Ok, so that whole talking thing didn't work. The bird panicked and flew away in to the storage room and hid behind the furnace.

Crap.

At this time I realize how big of a moron I am trying to catch a bird with a dinner napkin and my gentle voice. Yep that sure will slow it down. I toss the napkin into the dirty laundry sorter.

Round one: Human 0 Bird 1

As I scope out the new scene I hear little voices behind me. My girls have come to investigate what I am doing, because you know, they're my managers and all, and they really like to keep tabs on my work. They need breakfast and Mommy is slacking. The interrogators are filled in as I point out the bird and explain my actions. Now begins the whole string of questions as they follow me around.

why is a bird in the house?
how are we going to get it out?
what's it's name?
when's breakfast?
does the cat want to play with the bird?
how do we catch it?

Catch it? Right! Yes, I need something to catch it with. Hmmm. What could I use. Ahh-ha! I request the butterfly net, to which Leah dashes away to get it off the front lawn. Yes, a net! Now we're gonna get that bird and it'll take no time at all. I approach the bird, net in hand and end up freaking it out again. Off it goes flying about. By this time I have a cat, two little girls and a bird zipping around the basement.

Round 2: Human 0 Bird 2

I decide that we need to eat. Back upstairs we go. I brew coffee. I begin to warm up pancakes for Leah and toss an English muffin in the toaster and an egg in the microwave. Olivia likes egg and cheese sandwiches, and will eat that everyday. While the girls were eating I ran down to catch the bird again. When I stepped in the rec room the bird flew past me, chirping. How funny. She thinks this is enjoyable, eh? I grabbed the net and chased it around again, the cat at my heels. No luck. It flew back behind the furnace and I was being called by the girls. They were all done eating and wanted to watch Dragon Tales. And by this time I was feeling hunger and fatigue. Back upstairs. I ate my breakfast and drank some coffee. The cat of course remained in the basement with the bird.

Round 3: Human 0 Bird 3

Still determined I went down for another round. This bird cannot remain in the house while I'm at work, the Cat for sure will get it and I'm not fond of the clean up task that would follow. I chased the bird again and it hid behind some wires. Ok. This is ridiculous. I can't be out witted by a bloody bird. Now the coffee has hit my brain. I need this bird to be in an area where it can't hide in nooks and crannies. Yes! Turn out all the lights, leave the hallway light on, and let the bird follow the light to the main floor. Ah-ha! Then I'll be able to get her in the net. Ok, so I set it up and returned to my cup of coffee. The cat of course remained in the basement with the bird.

Round 4: Human 0 Bird 4

I browsed my catalogs and drank my coffee. Then I heard a strange flapping noise followed by the sound of the Cat's claws catching on the carpet as she chased it up the stairs. Great! The idea worked. I proceed to open the sliding glass door curtains and grabbed the net. The bird made its way inside the coat closet and was perching on K-man's coat. Right! Now I've got her. One flick of the wrist and she's netted.

Nope.

I missed.

Round 5: Human 0 Bird 5

She flew past me and around the living room (the girls are yelling and cheering me on) only to crash into the sliding glass door.

CRAP. I didn't open the dang door. I killed the bird. After all my effort to get this bird out alive it goes and kills itself because I wasn't bright enough to open the door. I am a dope.

The bird was on the ground, stunned. As she was shaking it off the cat swoops in and picks her up and prances off like a grand lioness proud of her kill. The girls scream. "Mommy don't let the kitty eat the poor birdy!" I chase the cat around the dining room, whacking her with the butterfly net, hoping that she'll drop the bird before she races to the basement. She does and that's when I net the poor thing.

I was worried. This terrified bird may actually be so hurt it won't be able to fly. I gently take the bird out back and sit on our steps. The three of us look her over and determine that she appears fine, just really scared and ready to go. I put her on the patio table and she flew away as fast as she could. Meanwhile the girls are saying "Bye little birdy, come back and see us again!"

Whew. What a wild morning. The girls couldn't wait to tell their schoolmates. And Daddy. And the Cat is pissed. She had that bird and was ready to claim her prize. She's giving me the cold shoulder now. She'll get over it.

Still, I can't figure out how that bird got in the house. I do not leave doors open, it's too hot to leave anything open this time of year. Our fireplace has been closed up since January. Hmmm. How strange. Some how birds manage to get in our house. Months ago I found a dead bird while cleaning the basement, it was very old, no guts or anything, more mummified than anything else. They must be getting in between the walls. Perhaps coming in through an attic and traveling down between the walls and popping out from some mystery hole. Oooh, maybe we have Hobbit holes and the birds are using those.

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