And then there were birdsI went downstairs this morning to start a computer game for Darcy, when I heard this faint scratching sound coming from the fireplace. Not the fireplace so much as the flue. something was in my chimney. Oh dear. Oh my.
You know me and animals. I could leave it there to starve to death! Or dehydrate! Nooooooo! Not if I can help it. Even if it was a mouse, or hell, even a rat. I had to save it!
Tai (via email) recommended I close the glass doors on the fireplace, put something heavy in front of it, and open the flue...to see what we'd caught. I thought it was a good plan, so I did just that. After lining the bottom of the fireplace with a towel, placing a small dish of water, and a dish of gerbil food (which has things both birds and squirrels can eat in it).
I couldn't tell at first what it was. It floofed down quietly, and with a big poof of ashes and soot. I laid the floor lamp over on its side so I could peer into the fireplace a bit better, and realized it was a bird. Ok...I can handle a bird, and a pretty small one at that. I'm less likely to get hurt taking a bird out than a squirrel! I waited a couple of hours, though, because I wanted Darcy to be in bed and not in the way. Having my four-year-old get her eyes pecked out is not the way I wanted to spend the day. LOL
I sent the little one off for her nap, grabbed a pair of leather gloves and a decent sized piece of fleece (in case I needed to toss it over a runaway bird...figured it would be light enough so it wouldn't get hurt), and went downstairs. I figured out where the cat had been most of the morning. He'd been watching his favorite new show: captive, terrified bird. Or captive, terrified birds to be more accurate. After I'd shoved the cat in a closet, I opened up the fireplace to discover that there were, in fact, two birds. Joy of joys.
One went peacefully. I think it was so traumatized that it was frozen. He was a little guy. Mostly black, as far as I can tell, since he was covered in soot. His face was so covered he couldn't open his eyes. Poor little one! I dropped him off n the backyard under a tree, then went after the second bird. He wanted nothing to do with me. I was a big scary monster that must have wanted to eat him alive in one bite. I left him alone for a bit, then went upstairs to get a big bowl with a little warm water in it. I wandered back outside, put the first bird in the water, and bathed him a bit. He didn't like it much, but by the time I was done, he could open his eyes. I still can't tell if his wings are broken or not. He doesn't fly. He could be a baby, but if he is, he's a big baby. He's mostly black with a lighter chin/underside. I'm not sure what kind of bird he is.
I went back inside, determined to get the other bird out into the world again. This time, as I scared him, he scared me. He flew out of the fireplace and into the lamp that I'd been using to try to see into the fireplace. Fortunately, I'd left the door open, and the lamp bumped him the right direction. He flew out the door almost immediately. Whew. He's ok, I guess, because he flew off as fast as he could.
Bird number one is still sitting under the tree. I'm hoping he perks up soon, because I really, really don't care for birds that much. But I'm not willing to allow an injured/baby animal to be eaten alive after I've rescued it. I might be heading to the store for a bird cage later. *sigh*
::update:: It doesn't look like I'll have to buy a cage after all. I went to put some gerbil food in the yard for him, and he didn't respond at all. I touched him, and again, no response. :(