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The Accidental Bird Sanctuary

Posted on Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Dave!I love my cats... honestly, I do. 99% of the time they are a wonderful addition to my life, and I can't imagine living without them.

And yet...

This morning I got out of bed and was surprised that neither Jake and Jenny were hanging around trying to convince me that they needed an early breakfast. Even weirder? There was no "tribute" from Jenny waiting for me (she brings me toys each morning... in exchange for my feeding her, I'm guessing). These unprecedented events had me worried that they had broken out of the catio or something, and I would be spending my day tracking them down.

Except...

When I turned to go downstairs, I saw them both at the bottom waiting for me.

Ominous.

Then, as I walked into the kitchen to get their breakfast, the pieces of the puzzle started sliding into place. The wild running around this morning was apparently due to a bird in the house. I knew this because there were feathers in front of the cabinet where I keep the cat food...

Bird Feathers Clue

And so I go rushing back upstairs to check the security cameras and... sure enough...

There's a Bird in the Kitchen

I start going back through camera footage in an attempt to figure out how long this has been going on. Here's from an hour prior...

There's a Bird in the Kitchen

It's amazing how stealthy cats are. Jake hopped up and was practically on top of the bird before he flew away...

There's a Bird in the House

Here's an hour-and-a-half prior...

There's a Bird in the House

Poor bird! This footage (featuring Jenny making a spectacular leap to catch him) was from almost two hours prior...

And here's her leap from from a different angle...

   
So proud of her... but also horrified.

I scrubbed the cameras from the time I went to bed until the time I saw the bird feathers. I was expecting to see footage of one of the cats coming in from the catio with the hapless bird in its mouth... but I never saw anything of the kind. It's as if the bird just magically appeared around 4:45am out of thin air. I suppose it's possible that the bird flew into the garage while I was cleaning it and followed me in the house when I had the door open... but wouldn't I have noticed that? No idea.

Meanwhile... I have a bird in the house.

I go back downstairs to look for it and, not two minutes later, Jake and Jenny go tearing through the house, chasing the bird upstairs. I go running after them just as the bird goes flying in my bathroom. Poor thing saw the skylight in there and thought he could escape through it. Not knowing what else to do... I close the bathroom door.

And now what?

Do I sneak in the bathroom and try and catch it?

Do I wait for the bird to become exhausted and hope I can scoop it up and take it outside?

My mind is reeling. About the only thing I know for sure is that I won't be hurting it or killing it. So... What about building a tunnel from the bathroom to the cat's bedroom and opening a window? THAT JUST MIGHT WORK!!!

So I start at the bathroom door...

My Bird Tunnel!

And build it to the cat's bedroom door...

My Bird Tunnel!

   
And... here we go. I apologize for shooting vertically (something I never do for video, because WTF?), but it was the only way to get the important information in-frame...

A few notes...

  • Yes. Yes. I know that building a tunnel was a bigger ordeal than what was needed... but I just don't care. The idea was to get the bird out of my house without hurting him. Trying to catch him in a pillowcase or a cooking pot or whatever was too risky. If he breaks a wing, he'd end up dead.
  • The tunnel took about 15 minutes to build.
  • The posters in my bathroom are by Robert Lyn Nelson, a painter I like from my visits to Maui.
  • The Kleenex box was too big and covered the bird when I was attempting to move him, so I reached for my Aveda Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion (which, by the way, is magic in a bottle if you're looking for a moisturizer).
  • The cat's bedroom is a mess because I had just taken down the extra bed I put up to house friends that might need to evacuate from the wildfires. I pushed all the furniture in the middle so the bird couldn't get stuck between it and a wall.
  • I rotated the camera at the end, not thinking that the movie wouldn't rotate with it. Oops. The bird seemed to fit in the frame better that way.
  • I am amazed that the cats didn't kill the thing. Or eat him. Heaven only knows they had enough opportunities. Guess they thought he was a fun toy rather than breakfast? I'm grateful beyond words, because THAT would have been a horrible mess to clean up.
  • Birds are tougher than you'd think. This poor guy took a beating and was undoubtedly traumatized, but took it all like a champ and didn't seem to be injured when he flew off.

And that was that.

Earlier this month I had posted this on Facebook...

A lot of bird activity outside now that it's getting cooler. My cats spend all day outside in the catio going nuts. I really need to put a bird feeder out there this winter.

And now?

I think that might not be such a great idea after all.

Tags: , ,
Categories: Cats 2017, DaveLife 2017Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    I’m glad you got him out okay. If it happens again you can throw a towel over them, even in flight. It makes capturing them so much easier. The towel cushions their fall and won’t break their wing. You can then handle them with out being pecked.

  2. Gosh it looked so exhausted at the end you probably could have just picked it up. Glad it made it out ok in the end!
    The chimney on the fireplace at our last house used to catch birds because it was rounded and slippery so birds would fall in. Once we caught a starling and took photos before letting it go.. http://kazza.id.au/2008/03/starling.html

  3. hello haha narf says:

    yay, safe bird!! good job, dave.
    i’ve captured birds before. once i simply used my sweater to throw over it while is sat on a chair, then i carefully picked up the precious package and took it outside. another time all i had was a large brown paper grocery bag so i closed the office kitchen doors and told the bird i needed him to fly into the bag so i could get him to safety. damn thing literally few right at me, into the bag. i gently folded the top over and talked to the bird as i made my way outside. when i opened the bag it sat there looking at me until i said it was safe to fly away. i was blown away that it waited until i said it was safe before attempting to fly. so cool. other than that, i got nothing. i’m just thankful the bird made it. you are a good friend to the critters. :)

  4. Matthew Westergard says:

    Way to go saving that bird’s life!

  5. Andy says:

    Cool to do that work for the bird – funny how it just sat on the ledge at the end waiting to head on out.
    Hope the cats don’t get mad at you for taking their toy away.
    I think this is the first time I’ve heard your voice on video – it sound like you have a Minnesotan accent which was not how I imagined it.

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