Monday, June 11, 2007

Bird Rescue

A starling fell down my chimney today. I was watching the ladies of the view when I heard a scuffling that was louder than the usual squirrel on the roof or woodpeckers trying a taste of the siding. I followed the noise to the living room fireplace where a small bird was trapped behind the steel mesh curtain. I wondered if it could fly out again, but after watching it try a few times and go crashing down, it was apparent that it couldn't do this on its own. With each attempt, more soot was stirred up into the air and cast out onto the hearth. The bird's lungs must have been taking in a heavy dose of ash particles. I didn't want to let it fly around indoors, and I didn't want to get pecked, but leaving it in place to die slowly of dehydration and black lung disease would be too cruel. In the garage, I found a huge plastic tote that was somewhat transparent and a board to cover it with. I parted the screen to the width of the plastic box, and used the board to cover the remaining gap at the top. Amazingly, after only a few minutes, the bird hopped right in. I lowered the board, mousetrap-style, and then was able to move it and close the lid of the tote. Out on the deck when I opened the tote, the bird wasn't able to get enough loft to escape. But as soon as I turned the container on its side, the bird flew away, lighting in the branches of a tall pine.

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