Alfred Hitchcock was an amazing filmmaker, wasn’t he? But I find it hard to forgive him for his 1963 horror film, “The Birds.” It scarred me for life!
That is said tongue in cheek, of course. At least . . . in part. But I was reminded just a week or so ago that my fear of birds is still alive and well on planet earth.
I went out front one evening and was admiring the pretty flowers we had planted this spring: Knockout roses, Azaleas, and Mandelvilla (to name a few). Of course, there is other new life in the springtime, too, and it wasn’t long before I noticed the unmistakeable sound of a baby bird trying to fly up from under the bushes that sit near our front windows. It was having trouble navigating evidently, or it was injured – I couldn’t tell which.
I thought the tiny baby bird was so cute. I went to the front door, opened it, and called for my wife and daughter to come out and see the adorable sight. But by the time they came out the bird was gone. “Well,” I thought, “so much for that idea.” Cuteness is rare, so you must capture it and share it when you can. Right?
After coming back inside and tending to some chores, I was in the den when my daughter said, “Dad, is that a bird down there at the end of our hallway?” I crept over for a peek. And sure enough – there it was! A tiny baby bird hiding under an oval table at the end of our hallway, just at the entrance to my daughter’s room.
I approached . . . cautiously, of course (I’m no fool when it comes to birds. I’ve seen the movie, as I already said; I know what they can do). Of course, the bird was freaked out as I approached. It darted into my daughter’s bedroom (much to her chagrin). So, we took the opportunity to close the doors to the other rooms in the house.
Thankfully, something caused the young fowl to exit my daughter’s room rather quickly, then it flew down the hallway and into the den. By the way, while this was going on our dog (a black Pitt/Lab mix) was going completely bonkers (he’s accustomed to being the only animal in the house, you see). We had to lock him in a room while we tried to corral the bird. He continued to howl like crazy, “Let me at ’em, let me at ’em” is, I think, what he was saying (I’m not good with Pitt/Lab dialect).
I quickly went for my laptop computer to google how to catch a bird in the house (I can’t imagine what people did in the old days, when you had to already know everything); the suggestion of using a towel to trap them appeared right off the bat. So, my wife grabbed a towel and we began trying to corner the wild fledgling. It escaped into the living room and went behind one of my bookcases. I quickly began to pull the books from the bottom shelf, but this merely forced the bird to duck for cover UNDER the base of the bookcase. Arrrggghh!
Further examination of my google search revealed that we should be quiet (tell that to our dog), and allow the bird to feel safe in the quiet room so it would emerge on its own. What choice did we have? I didn’t want to unshelve the books, only to have the small bird fly to another place of refuge. Then, I considered that perhaps in the hubbub the bird had escaped from the bookcase without our noticing. So . . . we waited.
Then . . . we heard a fluttering sound under the bookcase. “Ah, he is still there,” I thought. There followed a short chirp. But then . . . the unexpected happened.
Another chirp was heard. But . . . not from the bookcase; rather, from down the hallway. Then, one from the bookcase. Then, one from the hallway. Then . . . . It was as if they were calling out to each other. TWO BIRDS? Yes. Two birds.
Now we had a real task on our hands. And the thought occurred to me (albeit briefly) that maybe we had a NEST in the house. Thankfully, we did not.
Two towels were now put into play, and both my wife and I were on the hunt. My daughter stood at the front door, ready to open at a moment’s notice. The first bird was finally apprehended in a towel (but only after my wife accidentally had it in her towel without knowing it, and released it once again into civilization without meaning to do so). I took the bird laden towel out the front door and shook it out; the bird flew away.
Now, on to the remaining intruder.
Geronimo (well, I would have called him that if I had had time to think of it at the time)
settled himself or herself in the den, and I went in for the kill (not literally, you understand; this is literature, after all). I took a house broom and tried to bring it down from some decorative Norman Rockwell plates we have displayed in the corner by the fireplace. It fell to the ground as if dead, and lay in a disheveled manner, fluffy wings outstretched, against the baseboard. I tried to move him with the dustpan, but he appeared expired.
This was a ruse, of course, because in another frightful moment he was in the air again, coming at me, bouncing off my chest (which sent me falling into a sitting chair – I thought I was going to lose my life).
[NOTE: for those of you who think this sounds too dramatic, give me your phone number and I’ll call you the next time this happens, so you can show me how brave men do it].
Finally, the F-22 Raptor imitator dove under the couch seeking asylum. There I applied a broom handle to encourage him outward toward the front door. This would have done little good except . . . the winged marauder got its talons caught in an Orkin roach trap. And the sticky surface held him tightly in its paper prison. I grabbed the roach trap, hoping to goodness that his feet would continue to hold, and then I carefully transported him to the front door (held open by my daughter), and shook him loose into the wild blue.
Whew! Forty-five minutes of Hitchcock-like terror. Well . . . okay, not terror, but . . . discomfort of a fowl sort.
Now . . . I watch the front door every time I come in and out. All I can assume is that the birds entered when I went to call the girls to come out for a peek. I’ll not make that mistake again!
Nothing is . . . that cute.