I love the outdoors. That is where God put all the pretty Nature. And that is where I have to believe He intended it to stay.
This is why I have studiously instructed my children: when you open a door of this house, please close it behind you, so that flying bits of Nature that belong outside do not mistakenly come inside.
Because of this instruction, my kids loudly chastised me from the lunch table when I got up and went into the garage without closing the door behind me. I explained that it was okay, because I was only going into the garage for some water bottles, and I wasn't opening the outside garage door. The outdoors could not possibly breach the indoors.
Except. Except that I had not taken into account that when my husband last closed the garage door to the outside, a small bird had gotten trapped in the garage; the limbo between inside and outside, if you will. And my failure to close the door to the house behind me, just this one time, caused the poor little birdie to mistake my in for his out. He flew into the house, headed for daylight--and smacked his tiny avian cranium into my window.
Well. I have experience with wild birds in my domestic space. This experience consists of coming home with my then-boyfriend after a weekend in Chicago to find that a bird had flown down his chimney, attempted all weekend to fly through every closed window, and defecated in despair and fear on every surface.
Some experiences are best not repeated.
My primary goal was to keep the bird from flying upstairs, where the windows are smaller and harder to open. My secondary goal was to not alarm my children. My priorities may seem cruel, but I can calm a distraught child. I cannot get bird poop out of my duvet cover. I sent the kids upstairs with instructions to
cower hunker down in their rooms.
We have two large sliding glass doors, which I opened wide. In response, the grateful bird flew with determination at the small, locked window above the sink. I tried to gently guide it toward the open door with the business end of a broom. It flew into the family room to nestle in the nooks and crannies of the stone hearth.
I decided to call in reinforcements. I have watched enough TV to know that firemen frequently rescue kittens from trees. There is a firehouse just down the street. I have a trove of Rescuers of Small Misplaced Animals practically in my backyard. I called, the non-emergency number, just to show that I was in control but could use the backup of a young, burly Trained Professional.
"Pleasant Suburban Fire Department," a soothing female voice answered. I explained my situation. Miss Fire Department helpfully suggested that I try to guide the bird to an open window with a broom. When I pointed out that I was trying that right this very minute, she congratulated me on my innate bird-evacuating skills. No burly professional assistance was offered. I thanked her for her support and hung up.
I looked at the bird. I weighed hundreds of times more than it, and had at least twice its brain power. This should not be so hard.
I tentatively swatted with the broom. The bird flew back out to the kitchen, passing two gaping holes to the outdoors on the way, and took another crack at the small kitchen window before retreating to the top of the ceiling fan. In resignation, I unlocked and opened the small window. The bird tweeted. I'm sure if I spoke sparrow, I would have understood the melodic chirping as, "What took you so long, fathead?" As it was, I could swear I detected a bead-eyed dirty look as the bird shot past me through the open window.