The flutter of wings approached my head -- starting out quietly, but as it drew nearer, grew louder, it was clear this was no ordinary fly or beetle. It happened so fast and I was surprised at how much it scared me, but when loud flying things approach a person's head at an enormous rate little can happen except an adrenaline jump. My first thought, very clear in my memory, is "that's a big fucking moth!"
By the time I could turn my head, the flapping had stopped. Facing me from the other direction was an equally-shocked D. Directly between our gazes was a tiny sparrow, resting on the shade of an adjustable lamp used for photographing eBay items. It stood there, unfazed by our presence, flipped it's tail a bit, then flew out through the office door it arrived through.
Our office door, the only entrance or exit, opens out into the basement. The basement! Somehow the sparrow entered the house, navigated the ducts or construction, and found itself in an enormous open, dark expanse -- with one bright exit at the opposite end. Our office.
D and I laughed briefly, then realized we had to figure out how to capture this bird and deliver her back to the outdoors. D had worked in petstores and knew a good way to capture released birds is to wrap them in a blanket. Those birds, however, were relatively comfortable with people approaching them and being handled by humans. This tiny bird, barely larger than my computer's mouse, was not interested in human assistance.
We found two towels in the dirty laundry and held them out, hoping the bird would get close enough that we'd wrap it up, carry it out, and let it fly into the wild.
Five minutes of hilarious antics might have been fun to watch, what with us stumbling over our office materials and the bird knocking things off the tops of monitors as it stopped to rest, but it was becoming apparent the bird was becoming quite stressed and we were not helping the situation. It stood on top of my monitor, beak open to pant heavily, letting out short 'tweet' noises periodically.
I suddenly remembered the office egress window; we'd never tried opening it before, but it had to be possible. I pulled up the venetian blinds before realizing my error: the bird saw a new exit, and tried to head out the closed window. I was mostly in the way, and the window-well outside was ominous, so the bird was not going very fast and seemed merely surprised by running into the glass. The next steps of opening the window and removing the screen occurred with the venetian blinds down.
Finally open to the void outside, I raised the venetian blinds and the bird (presumably watching my activities and waiting to make a break for it) flashed over my shoulder and out the window -- only to reveal more wildlife nearby.
As the bird cleared the window well, a black stray cat recoiled in shock: it seems she had been relaxing under the weeds surrounding the window well and stopped to watch the mysterious window opening so far below. As I worked on the window, her ears and eyes barely peeked over the steel window-well edge.
The bird saw the most reliable path out of the weeds: the path the cat came in on. It barely cleared the cat's head and was out of the weeds before kitty could react. The stray stared down at me with a predictable non-plussed cat look, pretending not to have been surprised yet eager to find out if more birds were going to follow. Sorry, kitty: one bird was more wildlife than we could handle at a time.
The sparrows are really dangerous nowdays.:))
--Alexandra , 08/24/2005 15:13:50
--Mike , 09/23/2005 11:36:30